Boehner’s ‘fiscal cliff’ bargaining stirs some uneasiness

by Seth McLaughlin-The Washington Times  |  published on December 18, 2012

House Speaker John A. Boehner’s latest “fiscal cliff” offer to the White House has budget hawks fearing he is preparing to break his promise to deliver a dollar in spending cuts for every dollar increase in the nation’s borrowing limit.

President Obama and Mr. Boehner huddled for 45 minutes Monday at the White House, marking the first time they have met face to face since the Ohio Republican floated a proposal over the weekend to raise $1 trillion in taxes, cut $1 trillion in spending and use some of the proposed savings to replace the automatic spending cuts looming next year.

Part of the deal Mr. Boehner offered, though, would give the president another raise in the debt ceiling, in exchange for the spending cuts — which budget hawks said amounts to double-counting because the president already earned a debt-ceiling increase last year for that same money.

“The sequester is current law,” said Robert L. Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, a bipartisan budget-watchdog group. “So if you are replacing that, you are not getting more savings, you are just getting savings in a different form.”

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel did not respond to questions about whether Mr. Boehner was double-counting the savings.

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