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White House spokesman Jay Carney sidestepped a question Thursday about whether the White House was looking for an agreement to raise the debt ceiling as part of fiscal cliff negotiations.
“In whatever manner it comes, it should be done soon and without drama,” Carney said at his daily briefing. “But we cannot have the kind of situation where there was harm done even with the threat of default. There was significant damage done to our economy, significant damage done to consumer confidence simply when the prospect of default was in the air in 2011, and we shouldn’t allow that to happen again.” But he said including it in any broad fiscal cliff agreement would be “entirely appropriate.”
Carney also responded to Boehner’s comments that any debt limit hike must be matched or exceeded by spending cuts.
“Asking that a political price be paid in order for Congress to do its job to ensure that the United States of America pays its bills and does not default for the first time in its history is deeply irresponsible. It was deeply irresponsible in the summer of 2011, and it would be deeply irresponsible if we were to see that kind of approach taken again,” Carney said.
According to a House leadership aide, Geithner’s offer also included an immediate increase in both top marginal rates as well as capital gains and dividends to bring in $960 billion; additional tax increases equal to $600 billion, returning to the 2009 level on the estate tax, and a multi-year stimulus package of at least $50 billion for fiscal year 2013 alone.
Republicans ripped the offer as nothing more than a reiteration of the president’s budget proposal from earlier this year, and they complained that it included no entitlement reforms.
“This offer represents a complete break from reality. There were only seven weeks between Election Day and Christmas. The White House has now completely wasted three of them. After weeks of negotiations, they just demanded all of their favorite proposals, with no sign of compromise whatsoever,” said one Congressional Republican aide familiar with the White House proposal.
Daniel Newhauser and Emily Pierce contributed to this report.