Obama, Boehner meet again over "fiscal cliff"
WASHINGTON, Dec 17, 2012 (Xinhua via COMTEX) --
U.S. President Barack Obama and
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner met at the White House on Monday
after the top Republican made compromise on tax-rate increase over
the weekend, raising hopes that they would inch closer toward a
The 45-minute meeting was a sign of acceleration in
negotiations that seek to avert the year-end spending cuts and tax
increases known as the "fiscal cliff."
They have periodically met face-to-face and talked over the
phone recently as aides of both sides worked to piece together an
"The lines of communication remain open, but there is no
agreement, nor is one imminent," said Boehner's spokesman, Michael
"The President's proposal is the only proposal that we have
seen that achieves the balance that is so necessary," the White
House spokesman Jay Carney said at a news conference, but refused
to comment on specifics.
As a step to break the budget impasse, Boehner offered Obama a
plan over the weekend, which includes letting tax rates rise for
those who make over 1 million U.S. dollars a year, contingent upon
entitlement spending cuts.
Boehner's latest proposal calls for 1 trillion dollars in new
tax revenue, more than the 800 billion dollars fresh tax revenue
he initially offered.
Obama has insisted on allowing the Bush-era tax cuts to expire
on those earning over 250,000 dollars a year. As a gesture to
narrow the gap between two sides, he scaled back his initial
demand on tax revenue increase from 1.6 trillion dollars to 1.4
trillion dollars last week and signaled willingness to reform
"Any potential agreement would not only have to align with the
president's principles, it would require tough choices by both
sides," Carney said.
Economists predict the over-600-billion-dollar combination of
tax hikes and spending cuts, which are set to take effect next
year, would tip the country into recession if the Congress fails
to reach a deal.
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