- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Senate Republicans forced their Democratic counterparts to block a vote on President Obama’s own “fiscal cliff” budget proposal Wednesday — a move that GOP lawmakers said exposed the weakness of the White House’s proposal.

In a parliamentary sneak attack, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, pushed for an immediate vote on what he said was a legislative form of Mr. Obama’s proposal, which Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner floated last week to Republican leaders and which included $1.6 trillion in new tax revenues, as well as $400 billion in spending cuts spread over 10 years. The budget represents the White House’s opening bid with Hill Republicans to strike a long-term budget deal by the end of the year.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid objected to holding the vote, dismissing the GOP’s move as a “publicity stunt.”

“There is no Geithner proposal. This is all made up,” the Nevada Democrat said, accusing Mr. McConnell of trying to torpedo the ongoing negotiations over how best to avoid the expiration of the George W. Bush-era tax cuts and the automatic $110 billion in domestic and defense spending cuts facing the government on Jan. 1.

But Mr. McConnell said Mr. Reid was afraid to let senators vote on Mr. Obama’s plan because he knew the White House outline would suffer a dramatic defeat, which could dent Mr. Obama’s credibility as all sides try to negotiate a final deal.

Earlier this year, Mr. Obama’s 2013 budget did not receive a single vote when it came up in the GOP-controlled House and Democrat-controlled Senate — a point that Republicans were happy to remind voters of during the course of the 2012 presidential race.

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