(CNSNews.com) - Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) said 'I did my part’ in negotiations with President Barack Obama to avert the fiscal cliff by offering a proposal to raise taxes on millionaires.
Just hours before the House plans to vote on the Speaker’s “Plan B,” which will raise the marginal tax rate for people earning $1 million or more per year to 39.6 percent, Boehner said Republicans have done “everything we can” to avoid the fiscal cliff.
The fiscal cliff refers to the expiration of the Bush tax rates and the start of automatic spending cuts (sequestration) on Jan. 2, unless Congress and the White House act. The tax issues also include the child tax deduction; the end of the 10 percent bracket; and the Alternative Minimum Tax.
“President Obama and Senate Democrats haven’t done much of anything,” Boehner said during a Capitol Hill press conference today. “Their Plan B is to slow walk us over the fiscal cliff.”
“For weeks the White House has said that if I moved on rates, that they would make substantial concessions on spending cuts and entitlement reform,” Boehner said.
“I did my part,” he said. “They’ve done nothing.”
“The president’s last offer of $1.3 trillion in new revenue [taxes] with only $850 billion worth of spending reductions fails to meet the test of ‘balanced’ that he continues to call for.”
“Frankly,” Boehner continued, “I’m convinced that the president is unwilling to stand up to his own party on the big issues that face our country. Time is running short.”
“The House will act today and it’ll be up to the Senate Democrats and the White House to act,” he said.
“Plan B” is the latest proposal brought by Boehner to avoid the looming across-the-board tax rate hikes and spending cuts that will kick in on Jan. 2. The Speaker first conceded that “revenue [taxes] was on the table” after President Barack Obama won reelection in November.
Boehner then offered $800 billion in tax increases over 10 years in the form of closing tax loopholes and deductions. Obama had insisted on raising taxes on income-earners over $250,000 and he recently raised that threshold to $400,000.
The president also lowered his first demand for $1.6 trillion in new taxes to $1.3 trillion in new taxes, last week. Both the White House and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have said they will reject Boehner’s tax hike on millionaires.
The federal deficit for fiscal year 2012 was $1.3 trillion, and is projected to be $1.4 trillion in current fiscal year 2013. The national debt is more than $16.4 trillion. The national unemployment rate is 7.9 percent, and the real unemployment rate (jobless and underemployed) is 14.4 percent. An estimated 24 million Americans are either out of work or underemployed.