Conservatives assailed U.S. House Speaker John Boehner for offering new tax revenue in "fiscal cliff" talks, as President Obama was to talk to a business group.
Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., a leading member of the Tea Party movement, said the $800 billion in new tax revenue Boehner proposed to the White House "will destroy American jobs and allow politicians in Washington to spend even more."
Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, who heads the Republican Study Committee, an influential group of conservatives, said his fellow Ohioan's proposal on behalf of the GOP-controlled House amounted to a tax increase, "and I am not going to vote for a tax increase because it hurts economic growth."
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said on his Facebook page: "One party proposes 800 billion in tax increases. In an effort to counter them and continue to be the 'low tax, small government' party, the other party's leadership proposes ... wait for it ... 800 billion in tax increases."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., declined to endorse Boehner's plan. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said, "I'm not prepared to come out and embrace it or support it, but simply at this point to say I think it is a good-faith effort."
Boehner had no immediate comment on the criticism. His proposal said the $800 billion in revenue could be raised without raising tax rates but by closing loopholes and deductions in a broad tax-code rewrite.
The White House quickly rejected Boehner's offer Monday in part because it does not include tax-rate increases on taxable income above $250,000.
The fiscal cliff's $500 billion in across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts are due to take effect after the New Year, which comes in 26 days.
Obama repeated his insistence Tuesday rates must go up on the wealthiest Americans.
"Let's let tax rates on the upper-income folks go up," he told Bloomberg Television. "And then let's set up a process with a time certain, at the end of 2013 or the fall of 2013, where we work on tax reform ... and it's possible that we may be able to lower rates by broadening the base at that point."
Obama was to press his case before the politically conservative Business Roundtable in Washington Wednesday.
He was to deliver remarks and answer questions starting at 10:50 a.m., the White House said Tuesday night.
The Business Roundtable is a group of chief executive officers of major U.S. corporations formed to promote pro-business public policies.
Obama met with a bipartisan group of governors about his deficit-reduction proposal at the White House Tuesday.
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