The president’s plan is based on his most recent budget proposal, which sought the $1.6 in new revenues by targeting the wealthy and corporations. 

McConnell said Republicans will only negotiate a fiscal deal if Democrats make major spending cuts and entitlement reforms part of the discussion.

McConnell said Democrats who are demanding the tax-rate increase for those making more than $250,000 a year are not being serious about the deficit since the tax increase would fund the government for only one week.

“What they want is to sock it to the ones they call ‘rich,’ ” McConnell said.

Republicans also say raising taxes on the wealthy will harm small businesses.

At the end of the year, the George W. Bush-era tax rates expire and automatic spending cuts take place unless lawmakers agree to a new deal. Lawmakers are hoping to pass a new deficit-reduction package in December, before the 112th Congress adjourns.

Congressional leaders from both parties, including McConnell, will visit the White House on Friday for the beginning of "fiscal cliff" negotiations with the president.   

Both parties say they are eager to avoid the fiscal cliff, which could cause a recession, but they remain are at an impasse over taxes.