So apparently the Republicans went running to the press with President Obama's opening offer for the fiscal cliff negotiations, and hare having themselves a good old fashioned cry about it:
House Republicans said on Thursday that Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner presented the House speaker, John A. Boehner, a detailed proposal to avert the year-end fiscal crisis with $1.6 trillion in tax increases over 10 years, an immediate new round of stimulus spending, home mortgage refinancing and a permanent end to Congressional control over statutory borrowing limits.
The proposal, loaded with Democratic priorities and short on detailed spending cuts, was likely to meet strong Republican resistance. In exchange for locking in the $1.6 trillion in added revenues, President Obama embraced $400 billion in savings from Medicare and other entitlements, to be worked out next year, with no guarantees.
He did propose some upfront cuts in programs like farm price supports, but did not specify an amount or any details. And senior Republican aides familiar with the offer said those initial spending cuts might well be outnumbered by upfront spending increases, including at least $50 billion in infrastructure spending, mortgage relief, an extension of unemployment insurance and a deferral of automatic cuts to physician reimbursements under Medicare.
“The Democrats have yet to get serious about real spending cuts,” Mr. Boehner said after the meeting. “No substantive progress has been made in the talks between the White House and the House over the last two weeks.”
Maybe someone should tell Boehner that the idea here is for him to make a counter offer. I would expect it to be the Ryan budget on steroids. And then we can get back to reality.
I am pleased that the administration didn't open with their bottom line this time. Although his proposals all come from his budget and deficit reduction plans from earlier it will be very interesting to see how the Villagers react to the heresy of failing to propose massive cuts in vital programs. That is, above all, what's expected of any "serious" proposal.
Let the games begin.