White House rejects Boehner's proposals, calling them 'gimmicks'

The White House rejected House GOP leader John Boehner's (Ohio) proposal to freeze tax increases for two years and cut spending to 2008 levels, calling them "gimmicks" that "hold middle-class relief hostage."

The Obama administration renewed its public spat with Boehner by rejecting on its blog the two proposals the would-be speaker of the House made this morning on "Good Morning America."

"Make no mistake, we simply cannot afford to follow Mr. Boehner and the Republican’s strategy of adding to our deficit for the sake of high-income tax cuts that the Congressional Budget Office determined were the least effective of all the measures it analyzed for creating jobs and supporting economic growth," Deputy Communications Director Jen Psaki wrote on the White House blog. "And to hold middle-class tax relief hostage to such an irresponsible proposal is beyond the pale."

The barbed words for Boehner are perhaps unsurprising since President Obama, in a speech this afternoon in the GOP leader's home state of Cleveland, is expected to reject any compromise that would extend tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans that are set to expire at the end of the year.

But the White House response does suggest the "Obama versus Boehner" storyline is only heating up, with less than eight weeks until midterm elections in which Democrats are at risk for heavy losses.

Boehner made his proposals this morning in the spirit of bipartisanship, he said.

"I'm open to the president's ideas, but I think the president is missing the bigger point here, and that is with all of the spending in Washington and all the uncertainty facing small businesses, including the coming tax hikes on January the 1st, until this uncertainty and spending is under control, I don't think these are going to have much impact," he said.

"And so, today, what I'd like to do is work on a bipartisan basis to do two things," the GOP leader added before launching into explaining his proposals about reduced spending and frozen tax rates.

"This is nothing more than a throwback to Bush-era budget gimmicks that helped get us into the fiscal mess we're in today, an attempt to mask the true budget-busting cost of the Republican agenda," Psaki shot back.

The elevated level of sniping seems to date back to early August, when the White House launched an attack against Boehner — also on its official blog — by questioning whether the top House Republican's opposition to the administration's stimulus bill had cost his constituents jobs.