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Rep. Becerra: GOP deficit plan ‘went after the middle class’

“The Republican plan fails the very first test of fairness; it went after the middle class. It protects all millionaires and billionaires from the Bush tax cuts, or keeping the Bush tax cuts at the same time that it asks the middle class to carry the load,” said Becerra in an interview on CNN’s “Starting Point.”

The next chairman of the House Democratic Caucus said Republicans needed to take President Obama’s call for raising tax rates on the wealthy seriously. Becerra said Obama had campaigned on the issue and won and it was time for Republicans to concede on higher rates.

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“The Republican plan is almost as if the Republicans didn’t watch the last two years of campaigning in the election. What they essentially proposed was the Romney plan, and the president said we’re going to do this the right way, make sure the middle class was protected.”

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Monday unveiled the GOP’s proposal, calling for $2.2 trillion in deficit reduction through a combination of spending cuts, entitlement reforms and $800 billion in revenues. 

But the White House quickly rejected the GOP plan, saying it failed to “meet the test of balance” and included “nothing new.”

Republicans, though, sat their proposal is a serious counteroffer to Obama’s $1.6 trillion deficit-cutting plan.

“What we are putting forward is a credible plan that deserves serious consideration by the White House,” Boehner told reporters on Monday.

Republicans are open to new revenues, but want those to come from closing loopholes and eliminating deductions, as opposed to tax-rate increases. 

Democrats want to extend the expiring Bush-era tax rates for all but the top 2 percent of income earners, while Republicans want to extend them across-the board, arguing that any rate rise could hurt the economy.  

While the parties agree on extending middle-class tax rates, the GOP hopes to extract greater concessions on spending cuts, entitlements or comprehensive tax reform.

But Democrats insist rates on the wealthy will have to rise and Becerra on Tuesday continued to hammer that point. 

“Elections have consequences,” he said. “The president ran his campaign for two years saying he was going to let the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest expire. He was very clear about that.

“The moment they let go of that, we have a deal,” Becerra said of Republicans.