WASHINGTON — Obama's plan is part of an overall deficit reduction package that would increase tax revenue by about $1.5 trillion and reduce spending by a similar amount over 10 years.
Congressional Republicans, led by Boehner, have said they are open to including discussions about additional revenue but have balked at any plan that raises tax rates on the wealthy. They argue that the higher rates would also hit some small businesses, stifling economic growth.
Instead, they have advocated changes in the tax code that would eliminate tax breaks and loopholes that primarily benefit the wealthy. Several key Republican lawmakers have also said they would not be bound by a no-tax-increase pledge that they have adhered to in the past.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Monday the urgency of finding solutions intensifies as the end of the year approaches.
"If we don't do anything, on Jan. 1, 2013, there's a lot more people paying a lot more," the Virginia Republican said on MSNBC.
Cantor said the rapidly approaching deadline accounts for the more serious tone to the debate, but also reaffirmed the GOP's opposition to raising tax rates for the wealthy. "We've got to have the president step up and say, here's my position on how we reform these entitlements and start managing down the deficits," he said.
"What should be on the table is a recipe to fix the problem and not give away growth," Cantor said, when asked whether Republicans would agree to have increases in tax rates considered.
"We were re-elected to fix the problems, get the economy going again," he said. "Well, the president got re-elected and we know at the end of the year taxes are going to go up on everybody, rich and poor alike," if no action is taken to avert the hikes.