WASHINGTON — White House Press Secretary Jay Carney rejected Speaker of the House John Boehner's fall-back measure to maintain the middle class tax cuts Tuesday.
In a statement to reporters hours after Boehner outlined his "Plan B" if negotiations with Obama continue not to produce a deal to avert the fiscal cliff, Carney said the speaker's plan doesn't meet Obama's test of "balance" because it won't pass the Senate and doesn't include spending cuts.
Earlier Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Boehner proposal couldn't pass in his chamber.
Boehner's plan would only deal with the revenue side of the equation, allowing the mandatory spending cuts from the failure of the super committee to kick in. It would provide a tax break for all income below $1 million — a higher threshold than the White House had supported.
"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," Carney said in a statement. "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."
Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck fired back that "the White House’s position defies common sense."
"After spending months saying we must ask for more from millionaires and billionaires, how can they reject a plan that does exactly that," he asked. "By once again moving the goal posts, the President is threatening every American family with higher taxes.”