|ANALYSIS: 'Doomsday' For The Fiscal Cliff?|
|ANALYSIS By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone) and AMY WALTER||Dec 3, 2012, 8:56 AM|
After a week when both Republicans and Democrats dug in in their heels on the fiscal cliff negotiations, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that the ball is "absolutely" in the GOP's court.
"We think we have a very good plan, a very good mix of tax reforms that raise a modest amount of revenue on the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans, combined with very comprehensive, very well designed, very detailed savings that get us back to the point where our debt is stable and sustainable," Geithner said of the proposal he presented to Republican leaders on Capitol Hill last week in a "This Week" interview.
Only problem is, Republicans say the Obama administration's proposal is about as far away from a "good plan" as you can get.
"I would say we're nowhere. Period," House Speaker John Boehner said in an interview on "Fox News Sunday." "We've put a serious offer on the table by putting revenues up there to try to get this question resolved. But the White House has responded with virtually nothing."
So it may not be surprising that the GOP is considering what ABC's Jon Karl is calling a "Doomsday Plan" if fiscal cliff talks collapse entirely.
Here's Karl's latest reporting:
It's quite simple: House Republicans would allow a vote on extending the Bush middle class tax cuts (the bill passed in August by the Senate) and offer the president nothing more -- no extension of the debt ceiling, nothing on unemployment, nothing on closing loopholes. Congress would recess for the holidays and the president would face a big battle early in the year over the debt ceiling.
Two senior Republican elected officials say this Doomsday Plan is becoming the most likely scenario. A top GOP House leadership aide confirms the plan is under consideration, but says Speaker Boehner has made no decision on whether to pursue it.
Under one variation of the plan, House Republicans would allow a vote on extending only the middle class tax cuts and Republicans, to express disapproval at the failure to extend all tax cuts, would vote "present" on the bill, allowing it to pass entirely on Democratic votes.
By doing this, Republicans avoid taking blame for tax increases on 98 percent of income tax payers. As one senior Republican in Congress told me, "You don't take a hostage you aren't willing to shoot." Republicans aren't willing to kill the middle class tax cuts, even if extending them alone will make it harder to later extend tax cuts on the wealthy.
Still unclear under this plan is what would happen to the automatic defense cuts -- "sequestration" -- scheduled to go into effect on January 1 without a deficit deal. During the campaign, the President promised the cuts would not happen. As part of the deal to allow the House vote on taxes, those automatic defense cuts could be put off for a year.
Watch Karl's "Good Morning America" report HERE