-Senate Majority Leader Reid: ‘Generalities’ About Revs Don’t Help
-Senate Minority Leader McConnell: No ‘Solution’ Until Obama Enters Talks

By John Shaw

WASHINGTON (MNI) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Tuesday said the new
House Republican fiscal plan offers “nothing specific” about how its
recommendation for $800 billion in additional revenues would be achieved.

In comments to reporters after a Democratic policy luncheon, Reid said
House Republicans offered only “generalities” in their new plan, especially as
it pertains to additional revenues

“They have got to come back with some specific revenues,” Reid said.

He added that $800 billion is “not nearly” enough to help shore up the
nation’s long-term fiscal situation and blamed the inadequate proposal on the
power of the Tea Party over the Republican party.

“We can’t let the negotiations be guided by the Tea Party,” he said.

Speaking after the Republican luncheon, Senate Minority Leader Mitch
McConnell praised the House Republican plan as a welcome attempt to “move the
process forward.”

But he said that President Obama has not fully engaged in the negotiations,
adding that “there is no solution without his involvement.”

McConnell expressed frustration with the slow pace of the fiscal cliff
talks. “We’ve wasted an enormous amount of time sparring back and forth,”
McConnell said.

House Speaker John Boehner and his House GOP leadership team sent Obama a
fiscal counteroffer Monday that calls for $1.4 trillion in spending cuts and
$800 billion in additional revenues through tax reform.

The House GOP’s spending savings include $600 billion from health care
entitlements, $300 billion from other entitlements, $200 billion by using the
chained CPI for indexing benefit programs and $300 billion in additional
discretionary savings.

The $800 billion in revenues “would not be achieved by higher tax rates,”
the House GOP said in a letter to Obama, but through tax reform.

Last week, Obama offered a plan calls for $1.6 trillion in additional
revenues, $600 billion in entitlement savings and $50 billion for new
infrastructure spending.

The administration is also calling for the extension of Bush era tax cuts
for those families making less than $250,000 a year, the extension of the two
percentage point payroll tax reduction that was first approved in 2010, a
renewal of unemployment insurance benefits, and a housing refinance provision to
help homeowners who are underwater in their mortgages.

–MNI Washington Bureau; tel: +1 202-371-2121; email: jshaw@mni-news.com

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