- India diplomat who touts women’s rights busted for $3 wage to nanny
- MSNBC host Ed Schultz paid $252K by unions in 2012-2013
- Korean War memorial ordered to take down Christian cross
- Billy Graham near death, ‘close to going home to be with the Lord’
- SeaTac, Wash.: City’s new $15 minimum wage heads to court
- Obama mulls support for Islamists in Syria, with conditions
- Obama ‘birther’ theories float, as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- U.S. drone faulted for killing 14 ‘innocent civilians’ at Yemen wedding
- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
Barbs fly on ‘fiscal cliff’ but still no agreement
Boehner: ‘You can’t be serious’
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.
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 2013 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
- John Boehner demands answers on NSA, phone records
Latest Blog Entries
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- U.S. Navy-China showdown: Chinese try to halt U.S. cruiser in international waters
- House budget bargain faces Senate filibuster; Republicans line up to oppose
- PRUDEN: The last living witnesses; they wore the yellow star and remember the Nazi terror
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Billy Graham near death, close to going home to be with the Lord
- Obama birther theories float, as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- KEENE: James Clapper should resign for lying to Congress
- Kim Jong-un consolidating power or losing grip on North Korea's military
- STEVENS: Resisting the seduction of housing speculation
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Implement these actionable tips, how-to’s and best practices in 10 minutes or less to leverage online communications and technology for brand, business and career development.
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow