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DeMint, Heritage Foundation Criticize Boehner Counteroffer

Sen. Jim DeMint is criticizing a $2.2 trillion deficit reduction proposal put forward by Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, for including $800 billion in new revenue, becoming the latest conservative icon to attempt to shoot down Boehner’s volley.

“Speaker Boehner’s $800 billion tax hike will destroy American jobs and allow politicians in Washington to spend even more, while not reducing our $16 trillion debt by a single penny,” the South Carolina Republican said in a Tuesday release. “This isn’t rocket science. Everyone knows that when you take money out of the economy, it destroys jobs, and everyone knows that when you give politicians more money, they spend it. This is why Republicans must oppose tax increases and insist on real spending reductions that shrink the size of government and allow Americans to keep more of their hard-earned money.”

DeMint’s reaction is not the only conservative stone thrown. Hours after Boehner released the counteroffer, The Heritage Foundation declared it “a dud.”

Writing on the foundation’s Foundry blog, Alison Acosta Fraser and J.D. Foster savaged the plan. “At first blush, it appears little more than categorical, pre-emptive capitulation. To be fair, the details of the Republican proposal are extraordinarily vague,” they wrote.

Under Boehner’s plan, $800 billion in revenue would be generated through reforming the tax code, likely ending some deductions and broadening the tax base while lowering rates, according to senior Republican aides. Boehner, as he said he would do, does hold the line on generating tax revenue by boosting tax rates.

The plan also includes $600 billion in health care savings, potentially through cuts to Medicare or by raising the eligibility age, and would institute another $300 billion in mandatory savings and $300 billion in discretionary savings.

The plan would call for revisions to the consumer price index, which the aides said would save $200 billion.

Boehner’s plan, released Monday, came in response to a proposal from President Barack Obama that largely mirrored his budget blueprint from February, proposing $1.6 trillion in tax increases and a permanent fix to the brinkmanship over the debt limit, among other things.

Finding fault with both approaches, DeMint said he believes that Congress should pass legislation passed by the House that would extend the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for all brackets and replace automatic spending cuts — a proposal Democrats have argued would hurt the underprivileged while cutting taxes for the wealthy.

“If neither party leadership is going to put forward a serious plan to balance the budget and pay down the debt, we should end this charade” DeMint said. “We can stop the fiscal cliff with the bill that House Republicans already passed that simply extends the current tax rates and replaces the defense cuts with reductions in wasteful spending.”

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