GOP 'fiscal cliff' counteroffer: What's in it?
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“We will have to figure out a way to work with them … to lay out a way to structure this so we are both moving forward – revenue and entitlement changes … are moving forward at the same pace,” said a senior Republican aide.
There are “ample savings” within the offer to undo the budget-cutting “sequester” – the $109 billion in automatic spending reductions that hit both defense spending and social programs alike, the Republican aide said.
What isn’t in the plan?
A solution to the “debt ceiling,” for one. The US stock market tumbled during the debt-ceiling scrum in 2011, and congressional approval ratings crumbled. The much-loathed sequester was part of Congress's compromise solution. The government is expected to hit that higher debt ceiling within the first three months of 2013.
The Republican offer also does not address two perennial Washington issues – the so-called “doc fix” of Medicare reimbursement rates and the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), which would hit some 30 million Americans (instead of the current 4 million) without a fix.
What’s next? The ball, Republicans said, was in the White House’s court. Asked if he might talk to the president about the offer at a White House Christmas party this week, House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio smiled and offered simply: “I might run into him. I don’t know.”