Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D., Pa.) defended the White House's initial offer on how to avoid the "fiscal cliff" in an interview on MSNBC Monday, calling it a "perfectly good starting point" after it was panned by Republicans.
The Washington Free Beacon reported GOP leaders roundly rebuffed the offer, which reportedly included $1.6 trillion in tax increases, $50 billion in new stimulus spending, and a major mortgage refinancing proposal, unspecified in cost. The proposal would also get rid of the statutory requirement that Congress approve increases in the federal government’s borrowing authority.
Asked about the fiscal cliff negotiations Sunday on Fox News, Speaker of the House John Boehner replied, "We're nowhere." He and other Congressional Republicans derided the Obama proposal as not being serious.
Schwartz told MSNBC host Thomas Roberts she agreed a balanced approach was needed and felt Obama's first bid was a good example:
SCHWARTZ: "I think that the words were pretty strong ones from Speaker Boehner, and he obviously has a serious role to play as we go forward, and what he's always said and other Republican leadership has said is the President should put a proposal on the table and he did. They decided to reject it immediately. Of course, that's the beginning of a discussion, but it's very consistent with what the President has been offering and suggesting all the way through, which is we do need to find common ground. We do need to have a balanced approach. We know we cannot deal with a serious deficit problem in this country, as well as meeting our obligation to Americans, as well as making sure we protect the middle class. So he's put out a serious proposal of revenues and spending cuts and economic growth that does strengthen the middle class and get that economic growth. That's a perfectly good starting point."