Keith Ellison: GOP fiscal cliff offer makes path to deal "more opaque"

Now just a month away from the deadline, there is still no deal in sight.
Now just a month away from the deadline, there is still no deal in sight.

A day after Republicans proposed a fiscal cliff counteroffer, Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison says a path to striking a deal before the end-of-year deadline is "more opaque."

"I think there should be a deal," Ellison told City Pages earlier today. "I think we do need a deal. But we're not going to get a deal on the backs of senior citizens and disabled people. That's just out."

SEE ALSO: Keith Ellison critical of Obama's fiscal cliff deal [VIDEO]

As leader of the Progressive Caucus -- which has taken a hard line against any offer that would cut benefits to entitlement programs -- Ellison made the media rounds over the weekend, discussing the White House plan offered up last week to raise taxes on the richest Americans and find $400 billion in still-to-be-determined cuts to entitlement programs, such as Medicare. Appearing on ABC's "This Week," Ellison said he would only support the deal if the cuts did not impact beneficiaries.

But Republicans quickly dismissed the plan as "not serious."

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner made a counter proposal Monday that's already been cast as a non starter by Democrats, in part because it won't raise taxes on the richest Americans. The GOP offer would also raise the eligibility age for Medicare and slow cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security.

"It will hurt people," says Ellison. "It will hurt a full fifth of widowed women on Social Security. Literally millions of people. And I'm just not gonna do it."

Now less than a month away from the deadline, there appears to be no deal in sight. Asked if Congress can find a solution, Ellison says he's hopeful, but not certain.

"I see this as basically opening bids," he says. "It's impossible for anyone to know. We're often asked what is going to happen. No one knows that."

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