In an interview with Bloomberg TV aired on Tuesday, Obama declined to commit to a face-to-face meeting with Boehner.
“I don’t think that the issue right now has to do with sitting in a room,” said the president. “The issue right now that’s relevant is the acknowledgment that if we’re going to raise revenues that are sufficient to balance with the very tough cuts that we’ve already made and the further reforms in entitlements that I’m prepared to make, that we’re going to have to see the rates on the top 2 percent go up. And we’re not going to be able to get a deal without it.”
Republicans earlier this week unveiled their counteroffer to Obama’s initial deficit-cutting proposal. The House GOP plan would cut spending by $2.2 trillion through a combination of spending cuts and entitlement reforms, and would produce $800 billion in new revenue without higher tax rates.
Obama, however, insists that the current Bush-era tax rates only be extended for the middle class and wants the wealthiest 2 percent to pay a higher rate. Republicans want to extend the rates across the board and say a tax hike on any income brackets could hurt the still-recovering economy.
Cutter on Wednesday defended Obama’s own $1.6 trillion package, saying it was what he had “discussed for more than a year and a half on the campaign trail.”
“What’s not a real proposal is what John Boehner sent to the White House, which actually lowered rates for those at the top and asked the middle class to bear the entire burden of deficit reduction,” she continued. “That’s not what the American people voted for.”
Cutter, though, said she was optimistic that a deal would be reached, saying that there was “plenty of room and plenty of time for compromise.”
But she sought to add pressure on Republicans and suggested that Boehner’s real focus should be solidifying support for his proposal in his own caucus.
“Republicans need to decide where they want to move. John Boehner needs to decide how he’s going to get his own caucus together. They are becoming increasingly isolated in their position,” said Cutter.