Boehner’s office says Gang of Six proposal ‘appears to fall short’

Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) office said Tuesday that a $3.7 trillion deficit-reduction plan from the Senate’s Gang of Six appears to fall short of goals set by House Republicans.

“This plan shares many similarities with the framework the Speaker discussed with the president, but also appears to fall short in some important areas. The House is voting today on our ‘cut, cap, and balance’ plan, and we hope the Senate will take it up soon. That remains our focus,” a Boehner spokesman said. 

{mosads}In talks with President Obama, Boehner has been pushing for larger cuts to Medicare and Medicaid than are laid out in the Gang’s plan, which claims unspecified healthcare savings of $202 billion. 

The GOP also wants more up-front savings, and deeper tax cuts than the Gang’s plan contains, sources said. By eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax and lowering tax rates, the Gang of Six claims its plan scores as a $1.5 trillion tax cut even though it eliminates tax loopholes.

According to sources, House Republicans are also worried the Gang’s plan doesn’t have sufficient triggers to force action on the deficit and could allow committees to stall. 

They also are wary of the plan’s complicated mechanism for dealing with Social Security. The plan states that Social Security reform only be taken up once the rest of deficit-reduction plan is completed. If Social Security reform is not passed by a 60-vote margin, the earlier vote on the rest of the deficit-reduction package is nullified.

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