By Alexander Bolton - 11/29/12 05:54 PM EST
Democrats and Republicans are so far off in their expectations for the next steps of fiscal talks that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) claimed he cannot understand the Republican Speaker’s brain.
Senate Democratic leaders are growing frustrated by what they say is the lack of a specific plan from House Republicans to raise tax revenues or cut entitlement spending.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has told reporters the ball is in the Democrats’ court and called on President Obama to lead by offering a detailed plan to cut spending.
“I don’t understand his brain, so you should ask him,” Reid said when asked about the disconnect between him and Boehner.
Democrats argue they have already made their proposal to raise $900 billion for a down payment on the deficit at year’s end. They say Republicans should offer plans to cut entitlement spending, because that is the GOP’s priority.
“Is Boehner saying nothing? Then we’re negotiating with ourselves. Boehner has not had one specific proposal. The Republicans have had not one specific proposal. They can do it on the tax side, they can do it on the spending side. What do they propose,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the third-ranking member of the Senate Democratic leadership.
Schumer said Republican leaders’ general offer to find ways to raise revenues to reduce the deficit was “nothing.”
Schumer noted the Democratic down payment would raise income tax rates on families earning above $250,000, raise the capital gains rate to 20 percent and set the estate tax rate at 45 percent.