Cole: Obama's proposal a 'Christmas wish list'
December 2nd, 2012
12:22 PM ET
2 years ago

Cole: Obama's proposal a 'Christmas wish list'

(CNN) – Scoffing at President Barack Obama's deficit-reduction proposal, Republican Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma on Sunday likened the fiscal cliff plan to a child’s overly optimistic holiday list.

"I want to thank the president and Tim Geithner for reuniting and re-energizing the Republican caucus," he said. "That offer - they must think John Boehner is Santa Claus because that's a Christmas wish list, not a real proposal."

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On Thursday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner presented a proposal that calls for $1.6 trillion in increased revenue, some of it the result of higher tax rates for families making more than $250,000 a year. Obama also wants to close loopholes, limit deductions, raise the estate tax rate to 2009 levels and increase taxes on capital gains and dividend taxes.

The proposal further calls for additional spending, including a new $50 billion stimulus package, a home mortgage refinancing plan and an extension of unemployment insurance benefits.

In return, multiple sources told CNN, Obama is offering $400 billion in new cuts to Medicare and other entitlement programs. Specifics on cuts would be decided next year, the sources said.

But Republicans say the plan is full of unexpected measures and fault the president for starting the negotiations with what they describe as an outlandish offer.

"At the end of the day, do I think we'll arrive at a deal? Yeah, I actually do. But I think it's a lot of tough negotiation ahead of time," Cole said on ABC's "This Week."

The Oklahoma congressman made headlines this week when he suggested that Congress pass a deal piece by piece and immediately extend tax cuts for the 98% of Americans who fall below the $250,000 threshold, then negotiate later over the remaining top 2% of taxpayers.

Ultimately, however, Cole said he would stand by his party no matter what decision was reached.

For their part, Democrats say Republicans have failed to put forward any specifics, other than the fact that they're open to raising revenue by closing loopholes and putting new limits on deductions.

Geithner insisted the administration would not come forward with any new proposals that don't include an increase in tax rates for the wealthy.

"It's a very good plan and we think it's a good basis for these conversations," Geithner said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Cole, meanwhile, defended his party by saying he sees no reason for Republicans to present a formal proposal when House Speaker John Boehner has already offered a concession by allowing revenue on the table.

"There's a little (game of) chicken going on here in terms of gamesmanship," Cole said.

Dan Senor, a former campaign adviser to Mitt Romney, agreed that the GOP has no obligation to present a formal proposal. He said on the same ABC program that it was "hard to have a reasonable response" to what he called the president's extreme plan.


Filed under: Fiscal Cliff • John Boehner • President Obama
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. rs

    Look, Cole, we have 20 years of the GOP's "Voodoo" economics to show what you guys peddle doesn't work. The debt and defict we now have is proof of that. We also have two Congressional studies (one by the CBO, and one by the CRS-the one the GOP demanded removed from the Library of Congress) with data that backs that up. All you guys did is make a small and select class of Americans very, very rich. We got no jobs out of the deal, and the middle class is intatters. No Thanks.

    Threaten the fiscal cliff all you like. You will kill any shred of credibility your nutjob party has. The GOP might as well be the Taliban for all the good it does the working man.

    December 2, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
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