'Fiscal Cliff' Negotiations Heavy On Blame, Light On Progress

Category: US Politics / Dec 12, 2012 3:38PM EDT
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said on Wednesday (December 12) "serious differences" remain with U.S. President Barack Obama in talks to avert the "fiscal cliff.” Boehner, who spoke with Obama on Tuesday night, said the president's proposal for $1.4 trillion in new tax revenues did not fulfill his promise for a balanced approach to taming the federal deficit and could not pass Congress. "In the five weeks since we signaled our willingness to forge an agreement with the President, he has never put forth a plan that meets these standards and, frankly, that is why we don't have an agreement today," Boehner told reporters after a meeting with House Republicans where he warned members the negotiations could run through the holidays and up to the end-of-year deadline. White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama would not budge from his opposition to an extension of tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans. "The obstacle, thus far, has been the adament refusal to accept the proposition that rates have to go up for the top two percent. And that rates must continue to stay where they are, so that there is no tax hike on 98 percent of the American people," Carney said. The two sides have clashed over Obama's demand that any deal include an increase in tax rates for the wealthiest 2 percent of all Americans. Republicans want existing lower rates continued for all brackets and prefer to raise more revenue by eliminating tax loopholes and reducing deductions.