The vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus said that the White House quickly rejected Republicans’ fiscal cliff offer yesterday because it “failed the very first test of fairness.”
“It protects all millionaires and billionaires from the Bush tax cuts, or keeping the Bush tax cuts, at the same time that it asks middle class to carry the load,” Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) told CNN this morning. “It also, by the way, went after seniors and tells them, you shouldn’t get that $21 on average cost of living increase for the cost of your food, your medicine, but we’ll go ahead and let millionaires keep the $78,000 or so they get in one year in tax breaks.”
The GOP sent Obama a letter yesterday rejecting the plan presented by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner that includes $1.6 trillion in new taxes and removal of the debt ceiling as “neither balanced nor realistic.”
As an alternative starting point, Speaker John Boehner offered the House-passed budget resolution, aka Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget blueprint, including enactment of structural Medicare reform.
“These reforms are, in our view, absolutely essential to addressing the true drivers of our debt, and we will continue to support and advance them,” leaders wrote to Obama. “At the same time, mindful of the status quo election and past exchanges on these questions, we recognize it would be counterproductive to publicly or privately propose entitlement reforms that you and the leaders of your party appear unwilling to support in the near-term.”
It was almost immediately rejected.
“The president was right,” Becerra said. “This fails the test of fairness and at the same time, it almost acts as the Republican plan is almost as if the Republicans didn’t watch the last two years of campaigning in an election where essentially what they proposed was the Romney plan.”
“If Republicans are so wedded to this tax pledge to the special interest Grover Norquist and his organization that if they can’t find a way to come up with a bipartisan solution, they have to let the devil do it for them. I guess that’s possibly the way we do it,” he added.
“Elections have consequences. And the president ran his campaign for two years saying he was going to let the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent expire. He was very clear about that.”