Republican leaders accused President Barack Obama of wasting time on the "fiscal cliff" negotiations in the proposal he offered Thursday. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, in five Sunday talk show appearances, countered that it was a serious proposal and it is now up to Republicans to offer a counter-proposal.
Obama's opening bid in the fiscal cliff negotiations showed a lack of seriousness, Republican leaders claimed on the Sunday talk shows. Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) even claimed that the proposal means that Obama wants the nation to go over the fiscal cliff.
"We've got seven weeks between Election Day and the end of the year and three of those weeks have been wasted with this nonsense," Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in an interview on Fox News Sunday that was taped on Friday.
When Boehner heard that Geithner would appear on the Sunday talk shows to present the president's case, Boehner called Fox News and asked to appear on the show to present his side.
"The White House has responded with virtually nothing. They've actually asked for more revenue than they've been asking for the whole entire time," Boehner claimed.
When Geithner was asked whether there was more spending than spending cuts in the White House offer, he said it was "not true." There are two dollars in spending cuts to every one dollar in tax increases, Geithner said on "Fox News Sunday" in an interview that was also taped Friday.
For part of those spending cuts, though, the White House is including money saved from withdrawing troops from Iraq and Afghanistan; money that was not going to be spent anyway.
When asked if that was a budget gimmick, Geithner responded, "No, that's not right. ... Those were expensive wars, ... and when you end them, as the president is doing, they will reduce our long term deficits."
According to Geithner, it is now up to Republicans to avoid the fiscal cliff.
"Why does it make sense for the country to force tax increases on all Americans because a small group of Republicans want to extend tax rates for two percent of Americans?" Geithner said.
Republicans counter that the White House has not offered any serious proposals to cut spending and reform entitlement programs.
Boehner said he was "flabbergasted" at the White House's initial offer.
"I looked at [Geithner], you can't be serious. I've just never seen anything like it," Boehner recalled.
When asked whether Republicans have told the White House what they are willing to do on spending cuts and entitlement reform, Boehner said that the Republican positions are well known because the House passed budgets over the previous two years contained those proposals.
"[Obama] knows what our proposals are, he knows what we are willing to do," Boehner said.
Graham believes that Obama's proposal is a sign that he wants to go over the fiscal cliff.
"I think we're going over the cliff. It's pretty clear to me they made a political calculation," Graham said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "This offer doesn't remotely deal with entitlement reform in a way to save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security from imminent bankruptcy. It raises $1.6 trillion on job creators that will destroy the economy and there are no spending controls."