Sides remain far apart in ‘fiscal cliff’ talks

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The White House rejected a counter-proposal Monday night that was set forth by the Republican-controlled House that sought to avoid the “fiscal cliff” and cut $2.2 trillion from the country’s deficit over the next decade.

White House spokesman Dan Pfeiffer said the proposal “does not meet the test of balance,” CNN reports.

“In fact, it actually promises to lower rates for the wealthy and sticks the middle class with the bill,” CNN reported Pfeiffer saying. “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. 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.”

Republicans issued a statement Monday saying the plan was centered on a middle ground approach first presented to Congress last year by President Clinton’s former White House chief of staff, Erskine Bowles, one of the Obama-appointed leaders to the commission tasked with finding a solution to the national debt problem.

“The Bowles plan, presented in 2011 to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, is consistent with the framework House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) proposed the day after the election,” the release stated.

According to NPR, which aggregated breakdowns from several major news outlets, the Republican plan sought to achieve cuts with $800 billion in new tax revenue and the rest through a combination of cuts to entitlements.

The Wall Street Journal reported that revenue increases proposed by the GOP come from curbing things such as deductions from the wealthiest Americans, but the proposal does not increase their rates, as the president had demanded.

“It would cut about $4.6 trillion from the deficit over 10 years, including $600 billion in savings in Medicare and other health programs — up from $350 billion the president proposed — and change the way cost-of-living increases are calculated in Social Security and other inflation-adjusted programs. In their counteroffer, Republicans did not accept Mr. Obama’s bottom-line demand that income-tax rates increase for the top two income brackets,” WSJ reported.

Click here for analysis.

Click here for a report on the Republican proposal.

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