President Obama is taking a tough opening stance in talks over deficit reduction, pushing Republicans to accept a plan that calls for $1.6 trillion in new tax revenue over the next ten years, according to reports.
The figure is double the $800 billion last discussed by the White House and House Speaker BoehnerJohn BoehnerFormer House leader Bob Michel, a person and politician for the ages Former House GOP leader Bob Michel dies at 93 Keystone pipeline builder signs lobbyist MORE (R-Ohio) during their 2011 negotiations on raising the debt-ceiling limit.
The president and congressional lawmakers are set to meet at the White House on Friday as both sides begin hammering out a deficit-cutting plan that helps the nation move past the “fiscal cliff” of rising tax rates and automatic spending cuts set to take effect in January 2013.
Both sides say they hope to avoid the fiscal cliff, but are at an impasse over taxes, with the president insisting that the wealthy pay more.
House Republicans on Wednesday were incredulous at the president's opening bid.
"That is so 2009. It's like he is still in charge of this place," said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), referring to the last time Democrats had a majority in the House.
The president hopes to extend the expiring George W. Bush-era tax rates for those families making less than $250,000 per year. Republicans, though, say they want the rates extended across-the-board.
Obama will also meet with executives of some of the largest American companies, including Ford, General Electric and Wal-Mart, to sell his deficit-reduction plan on Wednesday.
Republicans, led by Boehner, have said they are open to additional tax revenues in a deficit reduction deal but would not agree on to a plan centered around tax-rate increases.
GOP lawmakers insist that the White House include entitlement reform and spending cuts as part of any deficit package, but Obama has said he will only compromise if the deal includes higher taxes on the wealthy.
Both sides claim support from voters on tax policy after Election Day, which saw the president reelected, but Republicans, who have staunchly opposed any tax increases, holding on to the House.
Republicans, though, have yet to offer a specific figure to open talks.
This story was last updated at 10:25 a.m.
Erik Wasson contributed.