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Speaker John Boehner, Rep. Paul Ryan, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, Rep. Eric Cantor and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Back to the drawing board, Boehner.
As Jed Lewison expained earlier, House Republican leadership has responded to President Obama's initial offering on so-called fiscal cliff negotiations with a refusal to consider tax rate increases and a sketchy proposal cribbed from some ideas Erskine Bowles gave to the Super Congress last year. Now the White House and Bowles have both summarily rejected the proposal from Boehner & Co.

Here's what was included in the Bowles sketch of a plan presented in a statement to the Super Congress.

Bowles called for $800 billion in new revenue, without resorting to using “dynamic scoring,” but not specifically from raising tax rates. He proposed raising the Medicare eligibility age, and changing government tax and spending formulas to use so-called chained CPI, reducing benefits in programs like Social Security and raising tax revenues over time by hastening workers ascent into higher tax brackets as they climb the income ladder. He proposed $300 billion in further cuts to discretionary spending, $600 billion in cuts to health care programs, and $300 billion in other mandatory spending programs, but did not spell out entirely how the cuts should be designed.

Boehner’s offer provides no further specificity about those cuts either.

Building, sort of, off of that, here's the breakdown Boehner's office provided to the Washington Post, to the extent that he has one.
  • $800 billion in unspecified "pro-growth tax reform that closes special-interest loopholes and deductions while lowering rates."
  • $600 billion in Medicare savings that would include raising the eligibility age and "structural Medicare reform." That's what they euphemistically call Ryan's voucher system, but it's not clear from the information available if that's what they're talking about now.
  • $300 billion in other "mandatory" savings, including farm subsidies. No further details there.
  • $200 billion through revising the Consumer Price Index for all federal beneficiaries, including Social Security recipients. This is the chained CPI we've been hearing about for the past year and a half that would produce benefit cuts over time.
  • $300 billion in further unspecified discretionary cuts.

For those keeping track, according to WaPo, that's $1.2 trillion in savings and $800 billion in revenue that probably actually isn't achievable. So here's the contrast with what Obama has presented:

  • On revenue: Obama $1.6T (with details), GOP $800B (no details)
  • On spending: Obama $400B, GOP $1.2T (scant details either side)
  • Debt ceiling: Obama addresses, GOP avoids

In addition to avoiding the debt ceiling, the letter also avoids extending unemployment insurance and the payroll tax cut and sneeringly rejects Obama's modest call for $50 billion in stimulus. You know, the real job creating. This is what Boehner calls a "credible plan." Judging by that, no wonder Paul Ryan is the brains of the operation.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 02:22 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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