‘Fiscal cliff’ talks down to Obama and Speaker Boehner

U.S. President Barack Obama hosts a bipartisan meeting with Congressional leaders in the Roosevelt Room of White House to discuss the economy.

With about three weeks left before the “fiscal cliff” deadline, the task of avoiding the steep tax hikes and spending cuts was down to talks between Republican House Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama, according to Capitol Hill aides.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are “being kept in the loop,” said an aide close to both Democratic leaders, ready to work out any details.

“The White House and Boehner have the most to work out, so they do the most talking,” the aide said on Friday.

Boehner scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m. EST/1500 GMT to discuss the “fiscal cliff” talks. “There’s been no progress,” a senior House Republican aide said.

After the Department of Labor reported the unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 percent in November as employment grew faster than expected, Boehner blamed Obama and Democrats for the prolonged uncertainty of the talks and said it was hurting the economy.

“The Democrats’ plan to slow-walk our economy to the edge of the ‘fiscal cliff’ instead of engaging in serious talks is a threat to our economy,” Boehner said in a statement.

Fundamental differences remain between the two sides. The president is demanding that tax cuts set to expire on December 31 be extended for middle-class taxpayers, but not for the more affluent.

If and when agreement is reached on that question, the two sides will try figure out a way to deal with the spending cuts, perhaps postponing or trimming them. They will also work toward a longer-term deficit-reduction package to be taken up after the newly elected Congress is sworn in next month.

“It’s going to require both leaders,” Obama senior adviser David Axelrod told MSNBC. “Each is going to have to make sacrifices in order to get this done. I think everybody recognizes the consequences of not getting it done.”

“In order to solve the problem and achieve the $4 trillion in savings, you’re going to have to do a balanced package, including all of these things,” he said, in answer to a question about the balance between tax hikes and entitlement reforms.

It’s no surprise that Boehner and Obama are the central players in the final weeks. That has been the pattern in previous showdowns over fiscal issues between the two parties.

Boehner will have a challenge selling whatever agreement he might reach to conservative Tea Party sympathizers in the House, some of whom are openly critical of the concessions the speaker has already made, particularly his openness to revenue increases of any kind.

But with polling showing that Americans will blame Republicans if the country goes off the “cliff,” more House Republicans have been urging Boehner to get an agreement quickly even if it means tax hikes for the wealthy.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

South Korea ferry disaster: captain's actions 'tantamount to…

The captain and some crew members of the sunken South Korean passenger ferry Sewol have been accused of 'murderous acts' by their own president, after…

News

Easter Egg hunt horror as skydiver plummets to…

A FAMILY Easter egg hunt ended in horror when a skydiver plummeted to his death in a New York garden after his parachute failed to…

News

Boston Marathon 2014 on high alert, Red Sox…

One year on from the horrific Boston Marathon bombings a ring of steel has been thrown around today's race, and a city stands defiant against…

News

Boston Strong: One year on from Boston Marathon…

  For more than a century the Boston Marathon has been an even centred around sportsmanship, endurance and athleticism, but there's no denying the face…

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

NHL

Ray Emery steps up in Flyers’ Game 2…

Sure, he allowed two goals in the Rangers’ first four shots Sunday afternoon, but it’s about how you start, not how you finish.

NHL

Flyers come from behind, even series with Rangers

The Flyers overcame a two-goal deficit to get a much-needed win at Madison Square Garden Sunday.

MLB

Phillies get set for four against the Dodgers

The Phillies will face tough starting pitching out west against the Dodgers this week.

MLB

Phillies notebook: Cole Hamels returns this week

The Phillies should receive a big boost when Cole Hamels returns during the Dodgers series.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.