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Harry Reid: House GOP Fiscal Cliff Proposal a 'Non-Starter'

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., called the House Republican counterproposal to avoid the fiscal cliff “serious” but also a “non-starter.”

“We're glad to see the Republicans join in the negotiating process,” Reid said on the Senate floor Tuesday morning. “While their proposal may be serious, it's also a nonstarter. They know any agreement that raises taxes on the middle class in order to protect more unnecessary giveaways to the top 2 percent is doomed from the start. It won't pass. Democrats won't agree to it. President Obama wouldn't sign such a bill.”

On Monday, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, submitted his counter-proposal to President Obama, calling for $2.2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade with $800 billion in new revenue through tax reform, not through increasing rates on the top 2 percent of taxpayers.

Republican aides on Capitol Hill said their plan was based on one presented by Erskine Bowles, co-chair of the deficit commission, but Reid pointed out that Bowles has subsequently distanced himself from the House plan.

“Republicans have sought to cover by invoking Erskine Bowles' name,” Reid quipped, “he has disavowed their plan.”

Concluded Reid on the plan Republicans have brought to the negotiating table: “Republicans are so intent on protecting low tax rates for millionaires and billionaires, they're willing to sacrifice middle-class families' economic security to do so.”

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