President Barack Obama said Saturday that Republicans in the House are blocking a bill that would prevent a tax increase on the first $250,000 of income earned by all Americans.
The Democratic-controlled Senate has approved the measure, but Obama said House Republicans have “put forward an unbalanced plan that actually lowers rates for the wealthiest Americans.” Obama supports a plan to raise taxes on families earning more than $250,000.
In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama said “the math just doesn’t work” on the GOP plan.
Obama’s comments mark the fourth time since his re-election that he has used the radio address to push for middle-class tax cuts as part of a plan to avert a looming fiscal cliff — and his most sharply partisan tone.
In a way, the Republicans have done what the White House wanted: They have put out their own plan in response to President Obama’s proposal last week for deficit reduction.
But it didn’t take long for the White House to dismiss the GOP offer, released Monday afternoon by Speaker John Boehner and other House Republican leaders. Not only does the Republican plan call for only half the revenue the president wants - $800 billion over 10 years versus $1.6 trillion - it does so by limiting tax breaks, not by raising tax rates on the most wealthy.
The Boehner plan also includes a $1.4 trillion cut in spending, for a total of $2.2 trillion of deficit reduction over the next 10 years. The cuts include reductions in federal health-care spending on programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act. Savings are also derived by lowering cost-of-living increases in Social Security.
“The Republican letter released today does not meet the test of balance. In fact, it actually promises to lower rates for the wealthy and sticks the middle class with the bill,” White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement. “Their plan includes nothing new and provides no details on which deductions they would eliminate, which loopholes they will close, or which Medicare savings they would achieve.”
Immediately after Ann Romney’s speech to the Republican National Convention on Tuesday, some major media outlets reported the GOP plan had worked: Ann Romney connected with women. Why did they think that was the case? A male Republican strategist told them so.
Reuters, discussing Romney’s success with this connection, first quoted a male delegate and then quoted Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak, who said, “This is a real woman who convincingly talked about their ‘real marriage’ in a way that was unquestionably appealing to women everywhere.”
It is not until three paragraphs from the end of a 26-paragraph piece that the article quoted a woman, Anita McBride. She’s the former chief of staff to former first lady Laura Bush and currently an executive-in-residence at American University, where she specializes in the role of US first ladies. But McBride didn’t say whether or not Romney connected with women, at least in the quote; instead, she noted that Romney was “forced to expose a little more because people are trying to connect [to her].”
The Los Angeles Times fell into the same trap. In its article about whether Ann Romney’s speech connected with women voters, the first quote is also from a male, in this case Republican strategist Mark McKinnon:
I can’t think of a thing she could have done any better. Her job was to humanize her husband, and it was hard to watch that speech and not come away with a better impression of Mitt Romney. She gave him dimension and compassion. And made him real. She connected. Big time.
But the woman quoted next, Rutgers political scientist Susan Carroll, said she wasn’t sure that Ann Romney’s warmth was enough, and doesn’t comment on whether she connected with female voters. “She comes across as very likable, very real. But the challenge for the campaign is that her husband doesn’t,” Carroll said.