Economy & Budget

Gingrich to GOP: Go home, let Democrats take the blame

Gingrich to GOP: Go home, let Democrats take the blame

Newt Gingrich has a simple plan for the House to deal with the so-called “fiscal cliff” that has Washington politicians twisting in the wind: pass one bill with tax cuts, and one bill without, send them to the Senate then go home.

“It is very painful watching the negotiation, it’s sort of an incremental surrender,” the former Republican House speaker and presidential contender said during a meeting Monday with Human Events reporters and editors.

By delivering two versions to the Democratic-controlled Senate, the Republican-led House sends the message to voters they stood by taxpayers of all classes, Gingrich said. If Democrats and the White House decide to raise taxes and the economy tanks, that party will be to blame.

The problem Washington now faces is that Congress and President Barack Obama have decided they don’t want to abide by certain automatic tax increases and spending cuts they have scheduled to take effect Jan. 1 through previous legislation.

Obama is willing to keep the Bush-era tax cuts, except on those married taxpayers making more than $250,000 a year, a tax category that includes many small businesses, along with unspecified spending increases. Republicans want to extend all of the tax cuts, but are willing to look at closing unspecified tax loopholes, and also want to reform certain entitlement programs to save taxpayer dollars.

“You asked what I would do — if we had a Republican conference prepared to do it, I’d go home,” Gingrich said.

“I’d say, ‘we would like to pass a middle class tax cut,’ and I would pass the complete Bush tax cuts and just say ‘we are now going home.’  If the president would like to make a serious offer and can deliver the Democrats in the Senate for a serious offer, we’ll talk about negotiating,” Gingrich said.

“But we’re not going to negotiate with ourselves – each passing week is a new concession,” Gingrich said.

Negotiating is not Congress’s strong-point — it is more effective at appropriating money, which the House controls, Gingrich said.

“If I was speaker, I’d have had a cheerful conversation with Obama, and said ‘just understand, Oct. 1 other than national defense, FBI and homeland security, you will have no government, because we’re not passing any appropriation bills, none. You want to talk about what an appropriation might look like? Call me.’ If the House doesn’t offer (appropriation bills) and the House doesn’t pass them, there is no money,” Gingrich said.

“But Obama right now thinks he’s the prime minister of a parliamentary system,”

Gingrich suggested House Republicans hold a press conference within view of the Magna Carta, a charter of liberties establishing the principle that a king is not above the law — as a reminder to Obama that those lawmakers control the purse strings.

But the problem with Republicans in Washington is that they have lost their ability to communicate their message or strategy, Gingrich said.

“They could not explain Christmas — if they were assigned the job of explaining why the gifts were under the tree, they couldn’t explain it,” Gingrich said.

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