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WH ‘surprised’ GOP laughed at Tim Geithner offer

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

President Obama’s spokesman said he was “surprised” that Republicans laughed at a proposal from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner that would raise taxes by $1.6 trillion, increase spending, and give the president unilateral control over the debt ceiling.

“I was surprised they [the Republicans] were surprised,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters today during the press gaggle when asked about the proposal Geithner made in a meeting with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “There is no reason for anybody to be surprised.”

Geithner foreshadowed this proposal with comments made to Bloomberg TV last week. “It would have been time a long time ago to eliminate it,” he said.

McConnell said Obama “ought to be embarrassed” about the proposal. “[H]ere we are witnessing the President running around the country thinking the campaign is not over yet,” he told Hugh Hewitt. “And they’re presenting laughable suggestions from the Secretary of the Treasury . . . It’s a serious blow to his credibility.”

Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, suggested that Obama and Geithner are negotiating in bad faith.

“Secretary Geithner has offered no plan on behalf of the President. Newspaper articles and leaks from anonymous aides are not a plan,” Sessions said in a statement last night. “Until this fantasy ‘plan’ from a secret meeting is made public and scored by the Congressional Budget Office it does not exist . . . It is a distraction that allows the White House to continue to run out the clock so it can have maximal leverage to force through a bad deal in the last minutes before midnight.”

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