WASHINGTON — White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer rejected Speaker of the House John Boehner's counter-proposal to avert the fiscal cliff in a statement to reporters Monday afternoon.
“The Republican letter released today does not meet the test of balance," Pfeiffer said. "In fact, it actually promises to lower rates for the wealthy and sticks the middle class with the bill. Their plan includes nothing new and provides no details on which deductions they would eliminate, which loopholes they will close or which Medicare savings they would achieve."
President Barack Obama has pledged to oppose any agreement that does not raise tax rates on the top two percent of wage-earners.
Independent analysts who have looked at plans like this one have concluded that middle class taxes will have to go up to pay for lower rates for millionaires and billionaires. While the President is willing to compromise to get a significant, balanced deal and believes that compromise is readily available to Congress, he is not willing to compromise on the principles of fairness and balance that include asking the wealthiest to pay higher rates. President Obama believes – and the American people agree – that the economy works best when it is grown from the middle out, not from the top down. Until the Republicans in Congress are willing to get serious about asking the wealthiest to pay slightly higher tax rates, we won’t be able to achieve a significant, balanced approach to reduce our deficit our nation needs.
White House officials had said there woud be no further negotiations until Republicans presented their own proposal, which they did earlier Monday. But from Pfeiffer's call to "get serious," it doesn't appear that the exchange has moved negotiations forward.
Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said the burden now falls on the White House to provide a plan that can pass Congress.
“Republicans have once again offered a responsible, balanced plan to avoid the fiscal cliff, and the White House has once again demonstrated how unreasonable it has become," he said, "If the President is rejecting this middle ground offer, it is now his obligation to present a plan that can pass both chambers of Congress.”