Is Boehner’s Fiscal Cliff ‘Plan B’ a Workable Solution?

Here’s what’s on the table right now:

Revenue increases: The White House is currently proposing between $1.2 and $1.3 trillion in increased revenue, compared to its initial offer of $1.6 trillion. The GOP has officially made an offer of $800 billion, but is unofficially flirting with the idea of $1 trillion in revenue, which would include a tax increase on America’s top earners.

Spending cuts: The White House initially offered $600 billion in spending cuts (or $400 billion, when new spending is factored out), compared to the initial Republican offer of between $1.2 trillion and $1.35 trillion. The White House is currently offering $930 billion in spending cuts ($850 billion net after new spending).

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The figures aren’t exact, because different sources calculate and estimate differently, but, as reported by The Washington Post, these are good numbers to think around. The scale of the fiscal cliff discussions to date seems to be the positioning of these figures.

With this as a backdrop, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) is preparing to put the GOP “Plan B” before the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Plan B is a bill that would extend the low Bush-era tax rates on those who made less than $1 million per year, and is expected to pass the House but not the Democrat-controlled Senate.

In spirit, the proposal is an image of the grand compromise sought by all parties. While President Barack Obama initially proposed a cut off at an income of $250,000 (and has since upped his proposal to $400,000), the vast majority of Republicans began with a hard-line no-new-taxes position. The very notion of a tax hike is not just a concession, it is the concession…

It looks like either Plan B is the solution, or the President puts substantial spending cuts on the table to sweeten the tax deal.

“Why not put on the floor something that’s what most Americans think the president is talking about, which is protecting from tax increases everybody but truly millionaires and billionaires?” said Representative Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), according to Reuters. Ostensibly, the logic is sound, but the proposed legislation is not all in good faith.

The air of divisiveness between the two parties has not subsided in Washington. Just beneath the surface of all the progress made so far is the sentiment that has proved to be a constant roadblock.

Representative Tiberi sums it up the politicized nature of the fiscal cliff negotiations when he argues that, should the Republican bill fail in the Senate, “that’s not our problem. We can’t be held responsible for what the Senate does.”

When answering questions after speaking about gun control on Wednesday, the President said that “I have gone at least half way in recognizing Republican concerns,” and indicated surprise that Republicans haven’t accepted what he calls a fair deal.

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