Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) ripped into President Obama’s opening offer on a package to avert the so-called fiscal cliff, during the GOP’s weekly address on Saturday, characterizing the proposal as “radical” and a “classic bait-and-switch.” “Maybe I missed it but I don’t recall him asking for any of that during the presidential campaign,” Hatch said. “These ideas are so radical that they have already been rejected on a bipartisan basis by Congress.”
Obama’s proposal — which includes $1.6 trillion in increased taxes on the rich over the next decade, $400 billion in savings in Medicare and other social programs, $50 billion in stimulus spending to begin next year, and an end to current debt ceiling rules — is not new or radical: it reflects the very same same policies Obama advanced for years and promoted extensively on the campaign trail.
For instance, Obama’s FY 2013 budget — released in February 2012 — raised “an additional $1.7 trillion in revenue” and proposed $360 billion in savings from entitlement programs, including Medicare and Medicaid. (Comparatively, Simpson-Bowles called for $2.7 trillion revenue over 10 years, more than what Obama requested). Obama advocated for additional stimulative spending throughout the campaign, calling for a path “forward” that will “continue investing in education and infrastructure.”
Republicans are feigning shock that Obama is proposing to implement the very same policies that Americans voted for in November, as they seek to define his second term agenda and bolster their own negotiating position. Meanwhile, they have yet to offer their own detailed proposal to avert the cliff.
Much of President Obama’s current proposal appeared in his 20-page plan, released in October. Hatch apparently missed these explicit mentions of tax cuts for the middle class (but not the wealthiest Americans), small business tax breaks to stimulate the economy, and entitlement savings — then and now. In a Politco op/ed following the plan’s original release, Hatch mocked it as a “glossy 20-page brochure” but not a “plan,” and dismissed it as “nothing but a rehash of the same failed ideas of the past four years.”