House Speaker John Boehner over the weekend proposed some major “fiscal cliff” compromises: In return for $1 trillion in spending cuts, he would agree to $1 trillion in higher tax revenue over 10 years, an increase in the top tax rate on people making more than $1 million a year (as opposed to the president’s proposed $250,000 threshold), and an agreement to postpone debt-ceiling negotiations for one year.
The White House said no.
Unsurprisingly — and despite the fact that the White House has turned down the Speaker’s offers — Boehner has managed to rile a few on the right.
“Not only is Boehner prepared to raise taxes – both through capping deductions and increasing marginal rates – he is now prepared to preemptively surrender our last point of leverage in one fell swoop,” writes Daniel Horowitz for Red State. “Boehner offered Obama a clean 1-year debt ceiling extension as part of the deal to raise taxes in return for fake spending cuts.”
“Boehner is acting like a desperate person on a sinking ship who is tossing everything overboard,” he adds. “This is a man who would pay more than the sticker price for a car.”
Breitbart’s Matthew Boyle referred to the Speaker’s offers as “caves.”
Meanwhile, the conservative group Club for Growth roundly condemned Boehners’ proposal.
“First Speaker Boehner offered to raise tax rates after promising not to, and now he’s offering to raise the debt ceiling. Raising tax rates is anti-growth and raising the debt ceiling is pro-government growth – and this is the Republican position?” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola in a statement.
As highlighted by Mr. Chocola’s statement, the Speaker’s debt ceiling offer has many pundits questioning his political savvy.
“House Speaker John A. Boehner has offered to push any fight over the federal debt limit off for a year, a major concession that would deprive Republicans of leverage in the budget,” the Washington Post reported.
“Republicans resigned to ‘losing’ the Fiscal Cliff fight have been hopeful that they could use the debt ceiling as leverage to get more spending cuts,” writed Business Insider’s Joe Weisenthal. “Now Boehner seems to be giving that up, while also cracking (ever so slightly) on higher taxes.”
The Speaker’s tax rate proposal calls for about $450 billion in revenue from increasing the top rate on million-dollar-plus income from 35 percent to the Clinton-era rate of 39.6 percent. The additional revenue required to meet the $1 trillion target would be collected through a rewrite of the tax code next year and by slowing the inflation adjustments made to tax brackets.
Boehner’s $1 trillion cut proposal would be paired with a comparable increase in the borrowing cap, enough to keep the government borrowing for about a year. But if the cuts are smaller, the debt limit increase would be smaller as well.
“Our position has not changed. Any debt limit increase would require cuts and reforms of a greater amount,” said Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck.
President Obama originally sought $1.6 trillion in new tax revenue over a decade and has since revised that to $1.4 trillion, the only concession he has been willing to make.
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter
The Associated Press contributed to this report.