WASHINGTON -- House Republicans proposed permanently extending all of the Bush-era income tax rates for the wealthy in their "fiscal cliff" offer made to the White House on Tuesday, according to a CNN report and confirmed by The Huffington Post.
House Speaker John Boehner and his Republican negotiating partners have said they don't believe the White House has made them a serious offer and that President Barack Obama has refused to budge on spending cuts. Tuesday's suggestion that all the Bush tax cuts be extended permanently was a sharp signal to the White House that Republicans don't feel the president is being reasonable.
In the fiscal cliff negotiations, Obama has been intent on raising tax rates for income above $250,000 and seems to feel he has the leverage to do so. Permanently extending the current rates is thus a nonstarter with the White House.
Boehner, for his part, has agreed to as much as $800 billion in additional revenue, but only with commensurate spending cuts.
Sources from both parties closely involved in the talks say that the gulf between the two positions has barely narrowed over the past month.
House Republicans say that the permanent extension of the tax rates will be made moot by their push to do comprehensive tax reform. "Our goal, as Boehner has made clear repeatedly and publicly, is a framework for comprehensive tax reform (which would make that claim moot)," said an aide to the speaker.
The Boehner aide also said that tax reform would raise revenue.