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GOP leaders dismiss revenue-raising in Obama plan

AP

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky,. followed by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, September 13, 2011.

By msnbc.com's Tom Curry

Republican congressional leaders sounded dismissive Tuesday about President Obama’s $447 billion job-creation proposal, with its offsetting tax increases, a day after Obama indicated he might be willing to accept a partial version of his plan or have Congress enact it in pieces.

House Speaker John Boehner said Obama, who was in Columbus, Ohio to promote his plan, was seeking "permanent tax increases ... to pay for temporary spending," a tradeoff GOP lawmakers are not willing to accept. 

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed Obama’s proposal as “a hodge-podge of retread ideas aimed at convincing people that a temporary fix is really permanent and that it will create permanent jobs.”

The brush-off from GOP leaders wasn’t surprising: Since 2009, they’ve opposed the revenue-raising ideas that Obama’s budget chief, Jacob Lew, offered Monday to pay for the new jobs proposal.

The ideas were in the first budget blueprint that Obama introduced shortly after becoming president in 2009.

The tax impasse seems unlikely to be settled until voters have their say in the 2012 elections, as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told reporters Tuesday. "Maybe the issue of taxation, maybe some of these other issues, will have to be left for the election," Cantor said.

But that doesn’t mean some of the job-creating tax cuts won’t be put to a vote in the House. Cantor said last Friday that GOP leaders would “take the things we can agree on… the things that provide incentives to the private-sector, small business people and entrepreneurs” and vote on them.

Obama’s budget director Jacob Lew said Monday the special joint congressional committee on deficit reduction could substitute its own revenue-raising ideas for the ones that Obama is proposing. “It's a question of whether or not the joint committee comes back and essentially replaces these offsets with others,” he said.

Obama has proposed:

  • A limit on itemized deductions and exemptions for individuals who earn over $200,000 and families earning over $250,000, a tax increase that would raise about $400 billion over 10 years, according to Lew.
  • A provision to treat carried interest -- the interest earned by investment fund managers -- as ordinary income, rather than taxing it at the capital gains rate. That would raise $18 billion, Lew said.
  • Scrapping various oil and gas tax provisions which raise $40 billion

All three ideas or versions of them were part of the budget plan Obama proposed in early 2009.

A reporter reminded Lew that a Democratic-controlled House and Senate had chosen to not pass these measures in 2009 and 2010.

 “You had a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate and it went nowhere. So how are you going to get it done now with a Republican House?” he asked.

Lew’s reply: “As the president made clear in the speech last Thursday and as he's spoken to the issue subsequently, we have choices to make. In order to invest in jobs and growth, we're going to have to pay for it.”