Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker John A. Boehner ripped into President Barack Obama on Tuesday for planning to take his fiscal cliff message on the road.
The White House announced early Tuesday a schedule of events for Obama this week aimed at bolstering his position on averting an income tax hike on the middle class. He’ll meet with small-business owners Tuesday and middle-class Americans and business leaders Wednesday. On Friday, Obama will head to Pennsylvania to for an event at a manufacturing facility that could be affected by the cliff.
The showmanship didn’t go over well with GOP leaders.
“Rather than sitting down with lawmakers of both parties and working out an agreement, he’s back on the campaign trail, presumably with the same old talking points that we’re all quite familiar with,” McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said on the Senate floor, a day after declaring the fiscal cliff talks at an “impasse.”
McConnell said that rather than beating up on the GOP, the president should be lining up Democratic support for changes to entitlements.
“The people [he] needs to be talking to are members of his own party so he can convince them of the need to act,” he said. “We’re not going to solve this problem by creating villains and drumming up outrage.”
McConnell noted that raising taxes on the wealthy would only put a minor dent in trillion-dollar deficits.
House Republicans also said the White House should be targeting Democrats because the GOP has already acknowledged a need for a “balanced” approach including revenue.
“Republicans understand that we must avert the fiscal cliff and have laid out a framework to do so that is consistent with the ‘balanced’ approach the president says he wants,” Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said. “In contrast, Democrats in Congress have downplayed the danger of going over the cliff and continue to rule out sensible spending cuts that must be part of any significant agreement to reduce the deficit. The target of the president’s rallies should be the congressional Democrats who want to raise tax rates on small businesses rather than cut spending.”
House Republicans plan their own campaign effort, taking their position of avoiding tax rate hikes to small-business owners.
A communications plan will be given to Members this week, backed by a small-business coalition.
Additionally, House Republican leaders are scheduled to meet Wednesday morning with the CEOs of several major U.S. companies to talk about the fiscal cliff.