By Jeff Mason
WASHINGTON Dec 3 The White House dismissed a
"fiscal cliff" proposal from congressional Republicans on Monday
that included tax reforms and spending cuts, saying it did not
meet President Barack Obama's pledge to raise taxes on the
"The Republican letter released today does not meet the test
of balance. In fact, it actually promises to lower rates for the
wealthy and sticks the middle class with the bill," White House
Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement.
He was referring to a proposal laid out in a letter by House
of Representatives Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans.
"Their plan includes nothing new and provides no details on
which deductions they would eliminate, which loopholes they will
close or which Medicare savings they would achieve," Pfeiffer
"Independent analysts who have looked at plans like this one
have concluded that middle-class taxes will have to go up to pay
for lower rates for millionaires and billionaires."
Boehner proposed overhauling the U.S. tax code to raise $800
billion in new revenue over ten years. Obama's opening bid,
outlined on Capitol Hill on Friday, seeks $1.6 trillion in new
revenue by allowing the expiry of tax cuts enacted under
President George W. Bush for the top two tax brackets.
After winning re-election last month with a campaign pledge
to raise tax rates for the wealthiest Americans, Obama will not
agree to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the richest 2 percent
of U.S. households, senior administration officials said.
The officials said the White House would likely continue to
discuss ways to avert the "fiscal cliff" in phone calls with
their negotiating counterparts in Congress.
Some conversations might take place at the White House's
annual holiday party on Monday night, they said.
But after the Republicans made an offer that runs counter to
Obama' main demand for higher tax rates, the officials said they
believe it is now up to congressional Republicans to take steps
to advance negotiations.
Once Republicans agree that tax rates must rise, achieving a
broader deal to reduce the budget deficit will be much easier,
the officials said.