Democrats shrug off Republicans’ ‘fiscal cliff’ counter

Offer included $800B in tax hikes

  • **FILE** House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican, participates in a ceremonial swearing in with Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 5, 2011. (Associated Press)**FILE** House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican, participates in a ceremonial swearing in with Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 5, 2011. (Associated Press)
  • **FILE** Speaker of the House John Boehner, Ohio Republican, speaks Nov. 14, 2012, to reporters at the Capitol in Washington after the House Republicans voted for their leadership for the next session of Congress. He is flanked by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (left), Virginia Republican, and Rep. Lynn Jenkins, Kansas Republican. (Associated Press)**FILE** Speaker of the House John Boehner, Ohio Republican, speaks Nov. 14, 2012, to reporters at the Capitol in Washington after the House Republicans voted for their leadership for the next session of Congress. He is flanked by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (left), Virginia Republican, and Rep. Lynn Jenkins, Kansas Republican. (Associated Press)
  • President Obama delivers his speech to the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) symposium at the National Defense University in Washington on Dec. 3, 2012. Seated are (from left) Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Sens. Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar. (Associated Press)President Obama delivers his speech to the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) symposium at the National Defense University in Washington on Dec. 3, 2012. Seated are (from left) Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Sens. Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar. (Associated Press)
  • **FILE** House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, touts his 2012 federal budget during an April 5, 2011, news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Associated Press)**FILE** House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, touts his 2012 federal budget during an April 5, 2011, news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Associated Press)
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  • **FILE** House Speaker John Boehner (right), Ohio Republican, and Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, walk in the Capitol in Washington on Sept. 13, 2012, en route to voting on a stopgap spending bill that avoids a government shutdown. (Associated Press)**FILE** House Speaker John Boehner (right), Ohio Republican, and Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, walk in the Capitol in Washington on Sept. 13, 2012, en route to voting on a stopgap spending bill that avoids a government shutdown. (Associated Press)
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Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and the man who runs the influential no-new-taxes pledge, had urged the Republicans to hold firm in rejecting any tax increase. An ATR spokesman said the group didn’t have enough details Monday to evaluate the plan.

Much of the debate comes down to whether it’s possible to squeeze $800 billion in revenue out of the wealthy through loopholes alone. Mr. Boehner says it is possible, while Mr. Obama and his allies say it isn’t.

Democrats said until Mr. Boehner agrees to rate increases, nothing can be negotiated.

“Republicans are simply digging in their heels by refusing to ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share and actually calling for lower tax rates,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said.

The Republican offer comes five days after Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner met with congressional leaders and laid out broad targets that included $1.6 trillion in new tax increases, and hundreds of billions in new stimulus spending and extended benefits for the unemployed.

Mr. Boehner said the last time he talked personally with Mr. Obama was Wednesday, though the two sides hinted they could talk on the sidelines of the White House holiday ball Monday night.

The GOP plan doesn’t lay out specific tax increases or spending cuts but instead gives broad goals to achieve the $2.2 trillion in lower deficits over the next decade: $800 billion in revenue, $600 billion in lower projected health spending, $300 billion from other entitlements, $200 billion by lowering automatic increases in spending and benefits, and another $300 billion from annual discretionary spending.

The Republicans’ offer says nothing about Mr. Obama’s call for more stimulus spending or about his demand that Congress give up its power to control the federal debt ceiling, which Republicans hope to use to keep an upper limit on spending.

Susan Crabtree contributed to this report.

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