President Obama will not accept a compromise on the fiscal cliff issues outlined House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, even though it parallels a deal suggested by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Boehner discussed with the Republican conference the possibility of letting tax rates go up for millionaires in order to avoid going over the fiscal cliff, which would raise taxes on all Americans. “I believe it’s important to protect as many American tax payers as we can,” Boehner said today.
Obama rejected the plan. “[Obama] is not willing to accept a deal that doesn’t ask enough of the very wealthiest in taxes and instead shifts the burden to the middle class and seniors,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement today. “The Speaker’s ‘Plan B’ approach doesn’t meet this test because it can’t pass the Senate and therefore will not protect middle class families, and does little to address our fiscal challenges with zero spending cuts.”
That statement might come as a surprise to Pelosi. “In our caucus, there is a school of thought that says let’s get rid of all the tax cuts,” Pelosi told The Charlie Rose Show earlier this year, per Buzzfeed. “I say, let’s begin by getting rid of tax cuts for people making more than a million dollars a year. I’m not even saying $250,000. The president’s saying $250,000. A million and above. Who can argue with that?”
Apparently, Obama can. Here is Carney’s full statement:
The President has put a balanced, reasonable proposal on the table that achieves significant deficit reduction and reflects real compromise by meeting the Republicans halfway on revenue and more than halfway on spending from where each side started. That is the essence of compromise. The parameters of a deal are clear, and the President is willing to continue to work with Republicans to reach a bipartisan solution that averts the fiscal cliff, protects the middle class, helps the economy, and puts our nation on a fiscally sustainable path. But he is not willing to accept a deal that doesn’t ask enough of the very wealthiest in taxes and instead shifts the burden to the middle class and seniors. The Speaker’s “Plan B” approach doesn’t meet this test because it can’t pass the Senate and therefore will not protect middle class families, and does little to address our fiscal challenges with zero spending cuts. The President is hopeful that both sides can work out remaining differences and reach a solution so we don’t miss the opportunity in front of us today.