Politics
President Barack Obama speaks about the fiscal cliff as he takes questions from reporters, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) President Barack Obama speaks about the fiscal cliff as he takes questions from reporters, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)  

Obama admonishes Republicans for not agreeing to spending deal

Photo of Neil Munro
Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

President Barack Obama chided Republicans Wednesday for not agreeing to a spending deal with him, suggesting that they may be motivated by personal dislike for him, that the latest GOP offer ignores logic and their own priorities, and that the GOP should temper its ideology in light of the Dec. 14 massacre of 20 children in Newtown, Conn.

Obama held firm on his push to tax income above $250,000. The top House Republican has offered to raise taxes on income above $1 million.

“There’s a difference in terms of them wanting to preserve tax breaks for folks between $250,000 and $1 million that we just can’t afford,” he said.

Obama also amped up his demand that the GOP agree to raise the nation’s debt-limit to fund another $2 trillion in deficit spending before the 2014 election.

“I will not negotiate around the debt ceiling. We’re not going to play the same game that we saw in 2011, which was hugely destructive, hurt our economy,” he insisted.

The Constitution says the debt limit is set by Congress, and GOP advocates say they want to slow the $1 trillion per year increase in that debt, which is now $16.4 trillion.

In 2011, GOP opposition to another debt-ceiling increase forced Obama to accept some curbs on spending.

The president’s press conference at the White House came as the GOP pushed its own budget fallback bill, which would avert tax increases on income under $1 million, scheduled in January by the “fiscal cliff” deals signed in 2010 and 2011.

The GOP’s “Plan B” would extend the 2001 and 2010 tax cuts, but not for Americans who earn more than $1 million each year, and would put off negotiations with Obama until early next year, a plan Obama said “defies logic.”

“Any objective person out there looking would say we put forward a very balanced plan, and it is time to get it done,” he said of his 10-year plan to raise taxes by roughly $1.3 trillion.

The GOP’s opposition to tax increases on income from $250,000 to $1 million “is not a persuasive argument to me,” he said. “It may be that if we provide more information or there’s greater specificity, or we’ve worked through some of their concerns that we can get some movement there.”

He promised to continue conversations with congressional leaders to push his spending offer — which would boost the national debt from $11 trillion in 2008 to $23 trillion in 2022.

“I’m going to reach out to all the leaders involved … and find out what is holding this thing up.”