Obama-Boehner meeting fails to break ‘fiscal cliff’ impasse

A meeting between President Barack Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner on Sunday failed to revive the stalled “fiscal cliff” negotiations. 

The White House and Boehner’s office issued identical statements that the “lines of communication remain open” following the meeting.

With the holidays approaching, there is little time left Congress and the President to strike a deal to avert the fiscal cliff – a combination of steep spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1st.

Testifying before the Joint Economic Committee last week, Dr. Mark Zandi, Chief Economist at Moody’s Analytics, stated that going over the fiscal cliff will cause a “severe recession”.

Negotiations broke down between Republicans and Democrats last week over tax revenue.

Read more: Corker concedes GOP should let top tax rate go up

The White House is insisting that Republicans agree to extend the middle-class tax cut but allow the Bush-era tax cuts to expire for the top 2% of income earners.

“The President believes that a deal is possible.  It requires acceptance and acknowledgement in a concrete way by Republicans that the top 2 percent will see an increase in their rates.  To do that, all that Republicans in the House have to do is vote for a tax cut,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney

In his weekly address on Saturday, Obama once again called on House Republicans to pass the Senate’s bill to prevent a $2,200 tax hike on middle-class families next year.

Read more: House Democrats file discharge petition on middle-class tax cut bill

“Right now, middle-class tax cuts are set to expire at the end of the year. Time is running out,” Obama said. “The Senate has already done their part.  Now we’re just waiting for Republicans in the House to do the same thing.  But so far, they’ve put forward an unbalanced plan that actually lowers rates for the wealthiest Americans.  If we want to protect the middle class, then the math just doesn’t work.”

In exchange for the additional revenue, Obama said that he is willing to “find ways to bring down the cost of health care without hurting seniors and other Americans who depend on it.”

Boehner on Friday blamed Obama for the impasse, criticizing the White House for not responding to the GOP’s counter-offer.

“When it comes to the fiscal cliff that is threatening our economy and threatening jobs, the White House has wasted another week,” Boehner told reporters.

On taxes, House Republicans oppose any rate increase, insisting that any additional revenue should be generated by eliminating tax expenditures, such as tax credits and deductions.

Furthermore, the Republicans are pushing for more cuts to entitlements, such as Medicare and Social Security, as well as shifting cuts from defense to non-defense discretionary programs.

Read more: CBO analysis shows ‘fiscal cliff’ will sharply reduce long-term deficits but lead to a recession in 2013

But it appears that the public is siding with Obama on taxes. A Politico/George Washington University poll found that 60% of likely voters support raising taxes on households earning more than $250,000 a year, and 75% of those surveyed support “cutting government spending across-the-board.”

“The public is overwhelmingly supportive of Democrats’ plans to decrease the deficit, including raising taxes on households earning more than $250,000 (60 percent favor) and raising taxes on corporations (64 percent favor),” according to Celinda Lake, Democratic polling consultant. “On these basic tax questions, even 39 percent of Republicans support raising taxes on households earning over $250,000, and 42 percent support raising taxes on large corporations.”


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2 Comments on “Obama-Boehner meeting fails to break ‘fiscal cliff’ impasse

  1. Pingback: Pelosi challenges House Republicans to bring middle-class tax cut bill to a vote | What The Folly?!

  2. Pingback: Transcript: Nancy Pelosi’s floor statement on the middle-class tax cut & fiscal cliff | What The Folly?!

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