Boehner: No progress in fiscal cliff talks
WASHINGTON â€” House Speaker John Boehner said Friday there has been no progress in negotiations to avert a â€œfiscal cliffâ€ combination of automatic tax increases and spending cuts in January and called on President Barack Obama to produce a new offer.
Four days after House Republicans offered a plan to raise tax revenues and cut spending, Boehner told reporters that the White House has failed to outline its proposal and instead has pushed the nation closer to a fiscal cliff that economists warn could plunge the country into another recession. The two men also spoke privately by phone on Wednesday. Boehner described the conversation as pleasant, â€œbut just more of the same.â€
â€œSince then, thereâ€™s been no counteroffer from the White House,â€ Boehner complained. â€œInstead, reports indicate that the president has adopted a deliberate strategy to slow-walk our economy right to the edge of the fiscal cliff.â€
Boehner singled out for criticism White House aides who have said that Obama was willing to allow Bush-era tax cuts to expire on all Americans on Jan. 1 and automatic, across-the-board spending cuts to kick in the next day. He called their comments â€œreckless talk.â€
Boehner repeated the long-standing Republican argument that raising tax rates would be detrimental to small businesses and â€œis not going to help our economy and itâ€™s not going to help those seeking work.â€ Obama has insisted that any deal must include an increase in the tax rates for high earners.
But Boehner declined an opportunity to take a hard line on tax rates, skirting a direct question on whether he might be willing to accept some increase in the top tax rate, currently set at 35 percent.