House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) kept up his criticism Sunday of the White House plan for averting the "fiscal cliff," calling it a "non-serious proposal" and declaring that Congress will "never give up the power" to prevent the president from unilaterally raising the debt ceiling.
"It was not a serious offer," Boehner said of the plan Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner presented Republican leaders with last week.
"The president and the White House have had three weeks and this is the best we've got?" Boehner asked on "Fox News Sunday."
The White House's initial offer to congressional Republican leaders included a provision allowing the president to unilaterally increase the debt ceiling, unless two-thirds of lawmakers disapprove. Boehner expressed sharp disapproval of the idea. "Congress is never going to give up this power," he said.
Boehner's tone Sunday echoed what he said last week when he declared the talks had reached a "stalemate." He underscored his willingness to raise revenues without increasing tax rates on top earners.
"If there is another way to get revenue from upper income Americans that doesn't hurt our economy, then why wouldn't we consider it?" Boehner asked.
Democrats and Republicans are in stark disagreement over raising tax rates on top earners. Democrats have insisted that raising the rates for the wealthiest Americans be a part of any deal, while Republicans say it would hurt small businesses.
Boehner said Republicans have put revenue increases on the table a "dozen different ways" without raising tax rates on top earners.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, meanwhile, said Sunday that congressional Republicans are in a “difficult position” on the cliff talks, but remained optimistic a deal would be reached.