WASHINGTON — House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said Friday that he believes the fiscal-cliff deal the White House proposed was a starting point, not a final offer.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner presented a deal to House Republicans Thursday that many on the right did not take well. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly laughed out loud and called the proposal “unserious.”
But Hoyer said this would not be the end of the discussion.
“I don’t think it’s an ending point,” Hoyer told reporters at a pen-and-pad briefing Friday. “This is a democratic process. They have views, and we’re gonna have to accommodate their views, and hopefully they’re gonna have to accommodate our views.”
Hoyer recounted a story told to him by a Republican — “a good friend” — on the House floor, who said his dad had told him: “You gotta understand, they want two-thirds. You’re gonna get one-third of the deal, they’re gonna get two-thirds. Live with it.”
“But that means they gotta get one-third,” Hoyer said. “So we’ve gotta have an agreement. I don’t think it’s a take-it-or-leave-it offer.” (RELATED: Boehner: ‘We’re almost nowhere’ in fiscal cliff talks with Obama)
But Hoyer also said Republicans would have to give some ground as a result of an election in which Democrats retained the White House and control of the U.S. Senate. A plan to raise taxes on Americans earning more than $250,000 a year, Hoyer said, was decided during the election.
“That was very much part of the election, with clear delineation of position between Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney,” Hoyer said. “Mr. Obama won.”
The Minority Whip said he was hopeful a deal could be reached to address the fiscal-cliff crisis by December 23, the Sunday before Christmas.