WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says Republicans' plan to slash taxes and cut spending if the GOP retakes the House in November is no more than "an echo of a disastrous decade we can't afford to relive."
Obama used his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday to skewer House Republicans over the "Pledge to America" they unveiled this week. It also promised to cut down on government regulation, repeal Obama's health care law and end his stimulus program.
"The Republicans who want to take over Congress offered their own ideas the other day. Many were the very same policies that led to the economic crisis in the first place, which isn't surprising, since many of their leaders were among the architects of that failed policy," Obama said.
"It is grounded in same worn-out philosophy: cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires; cut the rules for Wall Street and the special interests; and cut the middle class loose to fend for itself. That's not a prescription for a better future."
Republicans used their own radio address to defend the plan.
"The new agenda embodies Americans' rejection of the notion that we can simply tax, borrow and spend our way to prosperity," said one of its authors, California Rep. Kevin McCarthy. "It offers a new way forward that hasn't been tried in Washington — an approach focused on cutting spending — which is sadly a new idea for a Congress accustomed to always accelerating it."
The GOP plan was short on specifics but showed a stark contrast between the philosophies of the two parties weeks ahead of midterm elections where Republicans are forecast to make big gains and potentially win back the House.
Perhaps the biggest difference was on taxes, where Republicans want to extend all of President George W. Bush's income tax cuts permanently — at a cost of some $4 trillion over 10 years.
Democrats want to keep the rates where they are for individuals making up to $200,000 and for families earning up to $250,000 — but to hit wealthier individuals and some small businesses with tax hikes in January. Their plan would cost $3 trillion.
Now, though, it's not clear there will be a final vote in Congress on either approach before November's elections.