Is the White House Walking Away from Fiscal Cliff Negotiations? |

The new offer from House Republicans in the fiscal cliff negotiations is a “significant move,” says POLITICO Morning Money. The Washington Post calls it “a far-reaching plan to rein in the national debt.” And former Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin says it’s consistent with “the kind of tax and entitlement reforms necessary to fix debt crisis.”

USA Today says the GOP plan “is superior to the offer Obama put on the table last week, as it more aggressively targets the government's biggest budget problems and refrains from adding costly spending.”

“Now we need a response from the White House,” said Speaker John Boehner today. “If the president doesn’t agree with our proposal and our outline, I think he’s got an obligation to send one to the Congress - and a plan that can pass both chambers of Congress.”

But in his meeting with big business CEOs today, the president didn’t say whether he’d respond to the Republican plan. When asked by Bloomberg News yesterday when he’ll be responding, he deflected.

And reports are beginning to suggest that the White House’s joke of a proposal (that can’t pass either house of Congress, would punish small businesses, and included “phony savings … a gratuitous fork-in-the-eye … and some new stimulus”) is all it’s willing to offer:

  • “White House won't counter Boehner's fiscal proposal” … believes GOP plan doesn’t “merit a counter-proposal from the administration.” (CNN)
  • “Dems are refusing to negotiate.” (Washington Post)
  • “Administration officials also hardened their insistence that Obama is willing to take the nation over the cliff rather than give in to Republicans…” (Associated Press)
  • “If the president slow-walks his response, it’s a good signal that Democrats are working to push Republicans to the edge of the cliff…” (National Journal)

The American people deserve to know: will the president sit on his hands? Or will he respond to the GOP’s balanced plan and outline one of his own that can pass both houses of Congress? One that cuts spending and reforms our tax code (an approach supported by 65 percent of Americans – including President Obama himself in 2011), and paves the way for long-term job growth?

As Speaker Boehner said, “We’re ready and eager to talk to the president” about such a proposal, “and to work with him to make sure that the American people aren’t disadvantaged by what’s happening here in Washington.”