With the 2012 fiscal cliff creating a buzz around the nation, Congress is working to reach a resolution before the Dec. 31 deadline.
"We've been working on this since May," said Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Fifth. "One of the things I've learned is most things get done at the last minute and with a lot of drama."
On Nov. 29, a White House offer was presented; Thompson said he didn't consider to be a serious proposal. On Tuesday, House GOP leaders offered a counter proposal that includes $2.2 trillion in savings over the next 10 years while also addressing the tax increase issue that has split the House.
The negotiations involve a combination of an estimated $800 billion revenue through tax reform and health savings achieved through reductions over the next 10 years and other mandatory cuts in spending, according to Thompson. "It seems like the president and the Democrats have come to the table."
The standoff continues, however, surrounding the issue of tax increases on the top two percent of the nation's wage earners and small businesses. Thompson called it "a deal breaker" because "it includes small businesses that file under LLC and sole proprietor." The top two tax rates stand to increase from 33 to 36 percent and from 35 to 39.6 percent as the Bush Administration tax cuts come to an end.
Many Republicans believe the increase could put hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work. That belief stems from the review prepared by Ernst & Young LLP on behalf of the Independent Community Bankers of America, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the S Corporation Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
"We need strong economic growth and raising taxes on job creators isn't a viable solution," claimed Thompson.
His answer is to reform the tax code.
"Lower the marginal rate while limiting deductions and stimulating the economy," said Thompson. "That's the path that I chose."
With the offer on the table, the Republicans will hold a conference Wednesday morning. "I'm very hopeful that, with the end of the year approaching, we're winding down. I have other goals that I feel strongly about us accomplishing," he added. "The farm bill is one of those things."