White House unleashes assault on GOP’s ‘Plan B’

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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The White House has launched a full-bore public assault on the GOP’s “Plan B” fiscal-cliff proposal, marking a sudden end to its repeated claims that closed-door talks are the best route to a budget deal.

“The President urges the Republican leadership to work with us … instead of engaging in political exercises that increase the possibility that taxes go up on every American,” said a morning statement by White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer.

“The American people are watching closely and deserve no less,” Pfeiffer insisted.

The GOP’s so-called “Plan B” proposal is a small-scale fallback in case of a continued stalemate over the stalled “fiscal cliff” talks between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner.

Plan B would extend the tax cuts signed in 2001 by President George W. Bush and extended in 2010 by Obama for all beneficiaries except people earning more than a million dollars per year. Plan B does not address other issues, such as planned budget cuts for 2013, nor a series of spending programs and tax cuts sought by the White House.

The GOP plans to vote on the measure, and then send it to the Senate for a vote.

However, Democratic leaders in Congress want to use closed-door negotiations to win a big tax increase, and furiously oppose the Plan B proposal. The Democratic majority in the Senate can bottle up the proposal, ensuring that Democratic Senators won’t have to vote for or against the legislation.

On Tuesday, White House spokesman Jay Carney told a reporter that the White House did not want to reverse its previous support for closed-door talks by engaging in public criticism of GOP proposals.

“I’m certainly not trying to antagonize the [GOP] … absolutely not, absolutely not,” Carney said.

The president “has demonstrated good faith and a willingness to meet Speaker Boehner and the Republicans halfway in an effort to achieve what would be a very significant agreement that would be of benefit both to the middle class and to the economy,” he claimed.

The GOP Plan B fallback was developed because Obama and Boehner are deadlocked over rival 10-year budget proposals.

Following Obama’s victory in the 2012 election, Boehner has offered to accept $1 trillion in tax increases, but in exchange, wants reforms that will trim just $1 trillion from budget plans that promise to spent $45 trillion by 2022.

However, Obama is looking for more taxes than spending cuts, plus funding for various money-losing Democratic projects, plus a big stimulus, plus a huge increase in the nation’s credit limit. He wants the credit limit increase because his big budgets require roughly $1 trillion in new debt every year, adding up to roughly $25 trillion in debt by 2022.

Since 2009, Obama has already increased the national debt by roughly $5.7 trillion to $16.4 trillion. That adds up to $55,000 of debt for every American, so far.

The White House describes Plan B’s increased taxes on the wealthy as giveaways to the wealthy. The plan raises “only about $300 billion from high-income households … [gives] those making over $1 million average tax cuts of $50,000,” according to the complaint.

The White House also describes Plan B’s proposal to raise taxes on investors and entrepreneurs earning more than $1 million — but not on those earning more than $250,000 — as a financial loss. “70 percent of the $400 billion [would be] lost by increasing the expiration threshold from $250,000 to $1 million goes to households making more than $1 million,” it said.

Meanwhile, it describe the GOP’s plan to prevent some — but not all — of the pending “fiscal cliff” tax-increases on middle-class families as a tax increase. It would increase “taxes by an average of $1,000 on 25 million working families with children and students” by not extending temporary tax cuts sent during Obama’s first term, it said.

The White House also complains that the GOP’s fallback plan doesn’t accomplish everything on its to-do list. “Plan B does nothing to address the other elements of the fiscal cliff, including the expiration of emergency unemployment insurance benefits … Medicare or the [Fiscal Cliff] sequester … does not do anything for jobs, certainty, or anything significant for deficit reduction,” said the White House’s complaint about the GOP plan.

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