Republicans leaders today signalled they are not the least bit interested in President Obama’s proposal to temporarily put off the March 1 fiscal cliff with some spending cuts and tax increases.
In a sign the GOP plans to start playing a little rough and damn a few of the public relations torpedoes, top Republicans asserted today that Obama will not be taken seriously until he addresses spending in a somewhat more sober matter.
“I’m flabbergasted,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon told POLITICO ahead of the president’s speech. “Until he addresses the real problem, which is mandatory spending, he’s just whistling in the wind.“
House Speaker John Boehner also prebutted Obama’s remarks, made early this afternoon in the White House briefing room, seeming to suggest that entitlement cuts – the only kind that can get the nation to a balanced budget – must be on the table instead of quick fixes.
“The president’s sequester should be replaced with spending cuts and reforms that will start us on the path to balancing the budget in 10 years,” he said.
Obama in his remarks prescribed a mix of tax increases and spending cuts to kick the problem down the road a little further. The president desperately wants to get budget issues off the table so he can focus on his top priority, immigration reform.
“So if Congress can’t act immediately on a bigger package, if they can’t get a bigger package done by the time the sequester is scheduled to go into effect, then I believe that they should at least pass a smaller package of spending cuts and tax reforms that would delay the economically damaging effects of the sequester for a few more months until Congress finds a way to replace these cuts with a smarter solution,” he said.
BTW, tax reform apparently now means tax increases in the White House lexicon.
Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, the GOP chairman of the tax writing committee, released a statement rejecting Obama’s suggestion that taxes be raised.
“Tax reform should be about making the code simpler and fairer for American families and helping employers create more jobs,” he said. “The president’s proposal is nothing more than another tax hike to pay for more Washington spending. That is not what America needs.”