By Justin Sink
Mitt Romney's campaign used the federal deadline to file income tax returns Tuesday to hammer President Obama over his "tax and spend" policies, saying that the president was hiding his real plan for the country's budget and was promoting lavish spending and excessive hiring at federal agencies.
In a call with reporters, Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), John Campbell (R-Calif.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) hammered the president for policies Chaffetz said "grow government, not jobs."
"We're not just one good tax increase away from prosperity in this nation," Chaffetz said, in apparent allusion to the proposed "Buffett Rule" defeated in the Senate on Monday. That legislation would have raised the tax on investment income for those making over a million dollars per year in an effort to bring their effective tax rate in line with the amount paid on ordinary income.
"The president wants to divert attention by talking about the Buffett Rule while the rest of the country is wasting away
the last thing we need is higher taxes at this point," Flake said.
The Republicans said if they had a "magic wand," they'd instead reform the tax code to impose something like a 25 percent flat tax on individuals and businesses.
"I think that what we Republicans in the House would like to do is reform the tax code to have fairer, flatter rates," Campbell said.
Campbell also accused the president of "hiding the football" on "what his real plan is" on taxes.
"The story here is that the president must have a plan in his head, because the one he's put out is completely unworkable," Campbell said.
But Democrats have accused Romney of being elusive on the details of his tax proposal. Romney has thus far refused to delve into some of the specifics of how he would restructure the tax code, saying instead he's focused on making taxes fairer and lower.
Still, Romney was overheard revealing some potential proposals -- including eliminating a second mortgage deduction and providing deductions for state income and property taxes -- at a fundraiser in Florida on Sunday night.
Democrats blasted Romney for a lack of transparency, but the Republican congressman said Romney was simply still fleshing out his proposals.
"Gov. Romney, I'm sure, is working on what things in the tax code can you change to broaden the base and flatten the tax," Campbell said. "Which specific ones you choose isn't that critical at this juncture -- that's what the legislative process is about he's talking about an entire budgeting process that works. What the president isn't telling us is anything."