Senator Jeff Sessions, the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, responds to reports of Barack Obama's fiscal cliff "plan" by calling it a "fabrication."
"Secretary Geithner has offered no plan on behalf of the President," says Sessions in a statement. "Newspaper articles and leaks from anonymous aides are not a plan. Until this fantasy ‘plan’ from a secret meeting is made public and scored by the Congressional Budget Office it does not exist. Based on history, we can safely assume that reports that this ‘plan’ saves $4 trillion is a fabrication. It is a distraction that allows the White House to continue to run out the clock so it can have maximal leverage to force through a bad deal in the last minutes before midnight."
"[T]he process needs to be taken out of the shadows," Sessions said earlier on the Senate floor. "With public debate, people would learn facts that are now obscured."
USA Today reported this evening on the supposed details of the president's "plan":
The president's proposal includes a two-stage process that requests a legislative package before the end of the year that includes key provisions such as:
· $1.6 trillion in revenues, including $960 billion from raising the top marginal rates on wealthy Americans as well as higher capital gains and dividends and an additional $600 billion from unspecified revenue sources.
· An extension of the Social Security payroll tax break and unemployment insurance benefits.
· One-year deferral of "sequestration," the $1.2 trillion spending cuts over 10 years.
· A multiyear stimulus package with at least $50 billion for the 2013 fiscal year.
· A White House proposal to refinance underwater mortgages.
· A permanent increase in the debt limit that would change current law, which requires congressional approval.
The second stage of the proposal calls for a tax overhaul next year that would be consistent with the president's request for $1.6 trillion in additional revenue, as well as a promise to support $400 billion in Medicare and other entitlements that are outlined in Obama's budget.
The proposal is largely consistent with Obama's budget, which failed to pass Congress. One of the aides said the offer was as unrealistic as Republicans presenting Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's budget, which includes a plan to rework the entire Medicare system, and has been soundly rejected by Democrats.