House Republican leaders have made a counteroffer to President Obama in the fiscal cliff negotiations, proposing to cut $2.2 trillion with a combination of spending cuts, entitlement reforms and $800 billion in new tax revenue.
The leaders delivered the offer to the White House on Monday with a three-page letter signed by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), and four other senior Republicans, including Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the party’s just-defeated vice presidential nominee.
Republican officials said the offer was based on a proposal outlined by Erskine Bowles, the former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, in testimony last year before the congressional “supercommittee” on deficit reduction. That offer is distinct from the widely-cited Simpson-Bowles deficit plan released two years ago.
I’m eagerly anticipating a media narrative talking about how Republicans’ proposal — written by Bill Clinton‘s chief of staff and chair of Obama’s own debt commission — is an example of how unwilling they are to compromise.
In the meantime, I’m glad the GOP finally put forth some specifics. And while embracing the Bowles’ commission compromise isn’t ideal, it’s better than taking a nosedive over the fiscal cliff and puts the ball back in Obama’s hands. It’s time for the president to get his hands dirty with some actual leading and negotiating after his proposal was nothing more than a regurgitated version of his failed budget proposals of the past.
It’s time for Obama to come in off the golf course and end his campaign tour and actually earn the votes he got in November. And if he doesn’t, well, the Republicans are prepared to take us to DefCon 3.
Just don’t forget to keep your eyes on the prize, boys.