Obama Tweets to Rally his Fiscal Cliff Plan as Republicans Propose Their Own Solution

President Obama hosted a town hall forum on Twitter Monday afternoon, urging middle-class Americans to contact their Congressmen to support his budget plans. The president used the hashtag #My2K to reinforce the $2,000 in extra taxes the average American family will pay if Congress fails to act and the government falls of the fiscal cliff Dec. 31.

“Keep pressure on Congress,” Obama Tweeted during the chat, which lasted 45 minutes as the president fielded questions from eight constituents. Through a series of 140-character Tweets Obama stressed his position that higher tax rates on the top 2 percent of American earners are crucial to reducing the federal deficit that now exceeds $16 trillion.

“High end tax cuts do least for economic growth & cost almost $1T,” Obama Tweeted. “Extending middle class cuts boosts consumer demand & growth – bo”

Without increasing rates, the government may have to eliminate tax deductions that benefit everyone, including the middle class, such as the deduction for home mortgage interest.

“Breaks for middle class impt for families & econ,” Obama Tweeted. “If top rates don’t go up, danger that middle class deductions get hit – bo”
The president also stressed his willingness to negotiate his budget proposal—within reason.

“Don’t expect 100% my budget; room to negotiate,” Obama Tweeted. “If you incl $1T+ in cuts already made, rough balance b/w rev & cuts does trick – bo”

Obama explained areas of the budget he is not willing to negotiate, as well.

“Open to more smart cuts but not in areas like R&D (research and development), edu(cation) that help growth in jobs, or hurt vulnerable (disabled, poor) – bo”

Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner delivered a counterproposal to the president’s budget Monday, outlining how House Republicans hope to avoid the fiscal cliff in a $4.6 trillion deficit reduction plan sans tax hikes on wealthy Americans. The proposal is based on a plan outlined in 2011 by former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles, who co-chaired Obama’s debt commission.

Under the Bowles’ plan, the eligibility age for Medicare benefits would increase to 67. The Republican plan did not specifically mention changing the minimum age for Medicare, but the premise is one Boehner and Obama have discussed.

The Republicans proposal offered few details, but did call for $800 billion in new revenue gained from closing tax loopholes and capping deductions, $900 billion in healthcare and other mandatory spending cuts, $300 billion in discretionary spending cuts—including cuts in social programs such as food stamps—and $200 billion in revenue from changing the calculation method for cost-of-living adjustments to Social Security and Medicare. The plan reduces spending enough to reverse the $1.2 trillion automatic spending cuts set to take place at the end of the year with the fiscal cliff, according to GOP congressional aides.

“What we’re putting forth is a credible plan that deserves consideration by the White House,” Boehner told reporters Monday afternoon.