- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Barbs fly on ‘fiscal cliff’ but still no agreement
Boehner: ‘You can’t be serious’
Question of the Day
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner pushed back Sunday at Republican attacks on the Obama administration’s proposal rolled out four days earlier to avoid falling off the “fiscal cliff,” saying if GOP leaders don’t like it, they should come up with a plan of their own.
But while Mr. Geithner says he is still optimistic a deal will be worked out before critical year-end deadlines, House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said Sunday that talks with the administration are going nowhere and accused President Obama of trying to ram through the White House plan without negotiating in good faith.
Both sides say the other is digging in and playing partisan hardball at the expense of the fragile economy.
“If they’ve got some different suggestions, [if] they want to go further in some areas, then they should lay it out to us,” Mr. Geithner told “Fox News Sunday.” “We are waiting to hear from them.”
The administration on Thursday floated a budget framework to Republicans calling for $1.6 trillion in tax increases coupled with promised spending cuts of $400 billion. Mr. Geithner also said tax reforms in the president’s plan would raise $600 billion.
“We laid out a very detailed, carefully designed set of spending, savings and tax changes that help put us back on a path to fiscal responsibility,” he said.
Mr. Geithner said he is hopeful a deal can be brokered before hitting the early January fiscal cliff, when George W. Bush-era tax cuts expire and a series of defense and domestic spending cuts kick in — a scenario that would trigger a crippling recession, many economists say.
Mr. Obama and most Democrats want to extend the tax cuts only for individuals making less than $200,000 and couples earning less than $250,000 — about 98 percent of all taxpayers. Republicans want to continue the cuts for everyone.
Mr. Geithner said if negotiations fail, the blame will rest with a “small group” of Republicans in Congress who “decide they’re going to block an agreement because they’re not prepared to see tax rates rise modestly for just 2 percent of the wealthiest Americans.”
GOP leaders dismissed the president’s plan almost immediately last week, saying it doesn’t include enough spending cuts and raises taxes too much. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, reportedly laughed when shown the plan’s details last week, while Mr. Boehner said Sunday he was “flabbergasted.”
“I looked at [Mr. Geithner] and said, ‘You can’t be serious,’” Mr. Boehner told “Fox News Sunday.” “We’ve got seven weeks between Election Day and the end of the year. And three of those weeks have been wasted with this nonsense.”
GOP leaders, including Mr. Boehner, have denied they don’t have a plan of their own, pointing to their postelection offer to allow the government to raise tax revenue through ending some deductions and closing loopholes — though they have held strong against raising tax rates. They say it’s now the Democrats’ turn to bring more to the negotiating table — namely bigger cuts to major entitlements such as Medicare.
The speaker said he still is willing to work with the president to hammer out a deal before the new year. He declined to offer specific details, though he said recent budget plans by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, offer plenty of examples on how to lower the debt and deficit.
“I don’t want any part of going over the cliff. I’m going to do everything I can to avert that,” he said.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Sean Lengell covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- GOP tests Democrats on college loan issue
- Lawmakers outside intelligence loop get miffed about briefing structure in Congress
- John Boehner: Time is right to bring latest farm bill to House floor
- Supreme Court nears rulings on key voting rights cases
- N.J. Gov. Christie picks state A.G. to fill U.S. Senate seat
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Pentagon wants extra $19M to equip, train Ukrainian troops
- 'Big Bang' star Mayim Bialik helps send bulletproof vests to IDF
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- Australia issues arrest warrant for men believed to be homegrown ISIL terrorists
- Iraq Christians get meeting with top Obama aide
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors