POLITICS

McConnell to Obama: ‘Lead’

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., praised the counteroffer made by House Republicans in the fiscal cliff talks and urged President Obama to “get off the campaign trail” and develop a workable compromise.

“If the President is serious about joining us in an effort to reduce the deficit and protect the economy, he’ll get off the campaign trail, drop the left-wing talking points, and instruct his staff to negotiate a solution in good faith based on actual written proposals,” McConnell said in a statement. “In short, he’ll begin doing what leaders do: Lead.”

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other members of party leadership proposed $2.2 trillion in deficit reduction through spending cuts and $800 billion in tax revenue, according to The Hill. The plan does not include tax rate increases, though, which Obama demanded in addition to increased spending and permanent power for the president to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said over the weekend that they proposed, in effect, the budget that the president proposed last year.

Boehner observed in the letter that, if the House GOP were to imitate the president, they would respond with the Ryan budget as a counter offer, but “we recognize that it would be counterproductive to publicly or privately propose entitlement reforms that you and the leaders of your party appear willing to support in the near term.”

McConnell praised Boehner’s pitch. “The House Republican leadership put forward a Bowles framework that, unlike the unserious bait-and-switch proposal the President floated last week, is ground from which to build toward significant deficit reduction while beginning to reform and strengthen our entitlement programs—without harming jobs and economic growth,” McConnell said.

Geithner said the White House will go over the cliff rather than agree to a deal that does not include tax rate increases for the wealthy, because the country can’t afford them.

“That’s like the deep tragic lesson of the last decade,” Geithner said on Fox News Sunday to imply that a four percent tax cut caused the housing bubble and financial collapse of 2008.

Boehner asked Obama to “refrain from any further action that would undermine good faith efforts to reach a reasonable and equitable agreement in this critical matter.”

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