(Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)
In a Wednesday press conference, President Barack Obama again rejected Speaker of the House John Boehner's "plan B" proposal to increase taxes on millionaires while preserving tax cuts for everyone else. He also accused Republicans of being unwilling to compromise because they will not support his plan.
"Remember what I said in the campaign," Obama remarked in response to a question about the "fiscal cliff." "I thought that it was important for us to reduce our deficit in a balanced and responsible way. I said it was important for us to make sure that millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share."
Boehner's plan to increase taxes on taxable income above $1 million and preserve tax cuts for everyone else did not meet the goal of balance and making sure that "millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share," Obama said, because it would give tax breaks to those making more than $250,000 and less than $1 million.
Boehner "conceded that income tax rates should go up, except right now he only wants to have them go up for millionaires," Obama complained. "If you're making $900,000, somehow he thinks that you can't afford to pay a little more in taxes."
Boehner's plan demonstrates that Republicans are unwilling to compromise, Obama continued. To show their willingness to compromise, Obama said that Republicans should pass his plan, which he described as "at least halfway" to the Republican position.
"Part of what voters are looking for is some compromise up here," Obama continued. "That's what folks want. They understand that they're not going to get 100% of what they want. And for some reason, that message has not yet taken up on Capitol Hill."
Obama also claimed that Boehner's plan to increase taxes on millionaires would give tax cuts to the wealthy and increase taxes on everyone else.
"What [Boehner's plan B] means is, an average of a $50,000 tax break for every millionaire out there, at the same time that we're not providing unemployment insurance for 2 million people who are still out there looking for work. It means a tax increase for millions of working families across the country at the same time as folks like me would be getting a tax break. ... That violates the core principles that were debated in the course of the election."
While arguing that Boehner's plan to increase taxes only on millionaires would be a tax break for the wealthy and a tax increase for everyone else, and complaining that not increasing taxes on those making between $250,000 and $1 million would violate his pledge to make sure that "millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share," Obama urged Republicans to "not tangle themselves up in a whole bunch of ideological positions that don't make much sense."
In a statement to the press after Obama's press conference, Boehner announced that the House would pass his "plan B" tomorrow. Boehner added that he still hopes to pass a "balanced" plan with the president, but "the president is not there yet."
"The White House offer yesterday was essentially $1.3 trillion in new revenues for only $850 billion in net spending reductions. That's not balanced in my opinion," Boehner said.
Working with Obama on a compromise plan "would be better for the country," Boehner added, "but at this point, having a backup plan that makes sure that as few American taxpayers are affected by this increase as possible -- moving down that path is the right course of action for us."