President Obama on Wednesday said he was puzzled why Republicans have yet to embrace the deficit-reduction plan he has put forward, and he criticized the House Speaker John Boehner's "Plan B" to reduce the deficit.
“There’s got to be, I think, a recognition on the part of my Republican friends that, you know—take the deal,” Obama said. “They will be able to claim that they have worked with me over the last two years to reduce the deficit, more than any other deficit-reduction package.”
“That's a significant achievement for them,” he said.
Obama suggested that Republicans may just be refusing to agree on a deal because they want to score political points and continue to oppose him in his second term. “I don't know how much of that just has to do with, you know, it is very hard for them to say yes to me,” he said.
Boehner has “conceded that income-tax rates should go up,” Obama added. He and the speaker are separated by perhaps “a few hundred billion dollars,” he said.
But Obama said he could not accept a deal that would raise taxes only on millionaires. The Plan B that Boehner has proposed would not make significant spending cuts, would raise taxes on working families, and would not extend unemployment insurance, the president said.
“I'm going to reach out to all the leaders involved over the next couple of days and find out what is it that's holding this thing up,” Obama said. “It may be that if we provide more information, or there’s greater specificity, or if we’ve worked through some of their concerns, that we can get some movement.”