Republicans don’t need to counter President Obama’s proposal to avert the fiscal cliff with a formal plan of their own, according to Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., the deputy majority whip in the House of Representatives.
“I don’t think we need to put a formal proposal out on the table,” Cole said on the “This Week” roundtable Sunday. “The Speaker has already said that revenue is on the table. We have an idea of how to get there in terms of not raising rates but finding another way through the tax code and reform.”
“Beyond that we’ll see how negotiations go,” added Cole, who broke ranks with his party last week by calling for immediately extending middle class tax cuts scheduled to expire at the end of the year.
(More from Sunday’s show HERE)
Former Romney campaign senior adviser Dan Senor disagreed with Cole, saying that Republicans do need to present a formal proposal on avoiding the fiscal cliff.
“I do think Republican leadership at some point here needs to put forth publicly its plan,” Senor said.
Cole called the White House proposal, which was presented by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to Congressional leaders last week, more of a “Christmas wish list” than a serious plan.
(Read a transcript of George’s interview with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner HERE.)
“I’d like to thank the President and Tim Geithner for reuniting and re-energizing the Republican Caucus,” Cole said. “That offer, they must think John Boehner is Santa Claus because that’s a Christmas wish list not a real proposal.”
The proposal, which reportedly included $1.6 trillion in tax revenue, entitlement savings to be worked out next year, an end to debt ceiling votes, and stimulus spending, was soundly rejected by Republican legislators.
Geithner said earlier on ‘This Week’ that the ball is in now the court of Congressional Republicans.
Cole reiterated his willingness to work with Democrats on that issue — at least initially — in an effort to “strengthen” the Republicans’ negotiating position on the remaining tax cuts.
“I actually do believe that we should take things where we do agree with the president, and we do agree on this, and take things off the table one at a time. And this would, actually I think, strengthen our position in the course of negotiations,” Cole said.
Extending tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans is a “victory not a loss,” he added later.
Senor said that Republicans don’t want to see the country go over the fiscal cliff, but President Obama’s proposal may only serve to “poison the environment” in his second term, not lead the way to a deal on the fiscal cliff.
“I do think the President has gone way too far out to the left,” Senor said.