December 3rd, 2012
09:58 PM ET
10 years ago

Coburn sees fiscal cliff looming if Democrats reject Boehner proposal

(CNN) - If President Barack Obama steps away from the Republican deficit-reduction proposal advanced Monday by House Speaker John Boehner, "we will go over the 'fiscal cliff,'" predicted Sen. Tom Coburn.

That said, the Oklahoma Republican added he doesn't want to see the negotiations continue to play out on the front pages or at campaign-style events.

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"All this jockeying in public - we need real leadership right now. There shouldn't be anything offered in public," Coburn said on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront." "What it should be is the president and Speaker Boehner in a room and nobody comes out of the room until this is solved."

"I'm okay to compromise even on some of my issues if in fact we'll solve the problem," he continued. "But what we have is a game being played ... for the extreme right wing and the extreme left wing in this country rather than coming together and leading and solving the problem."

Coburn was appointed by the top Senate Republican to Obama's 2010 bi-partisan deficit reduction panel chaired by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles. He was also a member of the informal group known as the "Gang of Six," which sought to write deficit reduction legislation.

Boehner's proposal was blasted by White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer for failing to "meet the test of balance," in particular on the issue of tax increases. On that sticking point, Republicans - including Coburn - favor increasing federal government revenues through elimination of tax code loopholes and limiting or capping deductions. Obama maintains that an increase in the tax rates paid by wealthy individuals must be part of a deal.

Some non-partisan analysts, including the Congressional Research Service, have said the increased revenues from handling deductions and loopholes alone would fall short of the targets.

"I've been studying this for seven years. That's baloney," Coburn replied. "It's easy to get $800 billion out of the wealthy in this country by limiting deductions and taking away options that are specifically benefit only the well off in this country."

He and other Republicans have described Boehner's proposal as similar to one Bowles, a Democrat, advanced in the fall of 2011. In addition to maintaining the Bush-era tax breaks on all income levels, it would accomplish $2.2 trillion in savings, among them $600 billion in non-entitlement spending cuts and $800 billion in "health savings."

Bowles said in a Monday statement that the "approach outlined in the letter Speaker Boehner sent to the President does not represent the Bowles-Simpson plan, nor is it the Bowles plan."

"I'm certain that if this is not good enough for the White House, we will go over the fiscal cliff," Coburn said, "because this is a compromise on taxes, this is a compromise on mandatory spending, and it's a compromise on discretionary spending over what the select committee had debated."

Filed under: Fiscal Cliff • Tom Coburn
soundoff (181 Responses)
  1. josh rogen

    the president has never negotiated with congress he is a dictator he demands a rubber stamp assembly in order to bring an end to the long suffering of non-whites, and return his people to the glory which is rightfully theirs. look at the outward diversity of all those who think as he does, gender and race march goose-step by his side. government schools churn out his disciples in droves. whites who have realized the shame of their race have bowed to the superior ideas of this progressive messiah. he surrenders america's imperialist empire, ends the destruction of the industrial age, he saves us all whether we want to be saved or not. hail Obama, hail Obama, Hail Obama!!!!

    December 4, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. rino

    This coming from senator Coburn, the most vile and un-patrioctic man in politic. He is the one that voted against a 1 billion US$ bill to help our returning troop, while voted for the a trillion US$ 2 unpaid wars. We can see where this fannyhole loyalty lies. Making his military indutries firends rich no problem. helping returning vets to find jobs, big problem. Go away Coburn, u r as un-american as it comes.

    December 4, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  3. Tom

    Sniffit-Did you read my whole post?????? Or just pick out one part of it to argue? I am saying you can't have it both ways. Answer my question. You can't use your argument about lag time for the economy only when it suits you. I know there is a lag time, I don't have a problem with that. i have a problem with people stating there is a lag time if it proves their point, and not when it doesn't. I asked you are complete question and you chose to dissect it to a point you wanted to argue. Could you please not take words out of context and respond.

    December 4, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  4. Tom


    I used the word hate because of how you threw in your comments about "how they look, talk or think", and the term "good-for-nothing". I do think it is shameful to pre-judge based on those factors, however, those hateful words were not in the original post. I don't know who his was specifically targeting, but it could have been the group of people who have chosen(not those who have truly tried to help themselves and been unable) to live off the government programs that give them a dis-incentive to do for themselves. I would think even you would agree that there are those that work the system to their benefit.

    December 4, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  5. Evan

    @josh rogen: you are why the repubs lost the last election. you are uninformed (a nice way to say ignorant) and you should stop watching Faux News. you are doing yourself a major disservice. Obama has tried to negotiate with the republicans for 4 years and all they have said is "NO" to everything – even their own ideas! Obamacare is based on Romneycare which was formulated by the Heritage Foundation – a right wing think tank. The dems wanted a single payer system so in an attempt at compromise Obama used a republican idea and what did they do? They ran away. like the babies they are. they would make the country fail rather than watch Obama succeed. so sad and unpatriotic. they have blocked every single attempt to get something done.

    December 4, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  6. Wake up People!

    @Josh Rogan, please seek help and turn off FOX, clearly it's rotting your brain from the inside out.

    The only PEOPLE that think President Obama is a messiah, are FOXbots. You might want to put the me th pi pe down too. And if he WERE a dictator, I doubt there would have been a 2012 election.

    December 4, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
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