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Obama, Republicans Lay Out Positions for Fiscal Negotiations

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the U.S. "Fiscal Cliff" in the East Room of the White House, November 9, 2012.
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the U.S. "Fiscal Cliff" in the East Room of the White House, November 9, 2012.
U.S. President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans have set out initial positions ahead of difficult negotiations on deficit and debt reduction and taxes. As Mr. Obama has invited congressional leaders from both major political parties to the White House for talks next week to forge consensus.

After Obama's election victory, both sides are talking about common ground, although actually finding it and seizing opportunities for bipartisan compromise will be hard.


What is the U.S. Fiscal Cliff?

  • An agreement intended to force politicians to compromise and make deals.
  • Without a deal by January 1, 2013, sharp spending cuts would hit military and social programs.
  • Tax hikes also would go into effect.
  • The combination would reduce economic activity, and could boost unemployment and push the nation back into recession.
A combination of expiring tax cuts and the first phase of billions of dollars in mandatory spending reductions is fast approaching at the end of the year. Americans at all income levels face a tax increase without an agreement.  

Obama said he has invited congressional leaders to the White House this coming week to start building consensus over how to avert that so-called fiscal cliff.

The president said he was encouraged by remarks by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Republican John Boehner, about the need to find new revenue.

Obama supports reforms to strengthen entitlement programs such as Medicare, but he reiterated his insistence on raising taxes for wealthier Americans and not making the middle class shoulder the burden of paying down the deficit.

"I want to be clear. I am not wedded to every detail of my plan. I am open to compromise. I am open to new ideas. I am committed to solving our fiscal challenges, but I refuse to accept any approach that isn't balanced," he said.

"I am not going to ask students and seniors and middle class families to pay down the entire deficit while people like me making over $250,000 aren't asked to pay a dime more in taxes. I'm not going to do that," the president added.

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 9, 2012.Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 9, 2012.
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Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 9, 2012.
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 9, 2012.
Earlier, Speaker Boehner said the fiscal cliff needs to be averted and outlined what he called a "responsible path forward" without raising tax rates.

He challenged the president to respond in a spirit of finding common ground. "Earlier this week, the president and I had a short conversation. It was cordial," he said.

"I think we both understand that trying to find a way to avert the fiscal cliff is important for our country. And I’m hopeful that productive conversations can begin soon so that we can forge an agreement that can pass the Congress,” Boehner added.

Watch related video by Mil Arcega
Obama, House Speaker Take Positions on Budget Before Negotiationsi
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Mil Arcega
November 10, 2012 1:51 AM
After a contentious election, another political battle is brewing in Washington, this one with potentially serious consequences for the U.S. economy. Both sides staked out their positions Friday on what to do about the so-called 'fiscal cliff' - a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts that would automatically take place at the end of the year. Mil Arcega reports that economists warn failure by U.S. lawmakers could send the economy into another tailspin.

Boehner said raising taxes on higher income earners will slow down job creation.  He said the contentious issue of raising the U.S. debt limit, which caused the U.S. government's credit rating to be downgraded in 2011, will have to be addressed.

President Obama suggested that to provide more certainty in the economy, the question of extending tax cuts for the middle class could be separated from doing so for wealthier Americans, as negotiations continue on a broader deficit reduction package.

In the U.S. election, he said, Americans voted for an end to dysfunction in Washington.
"What the American people are looking for is cooperation. They are looking for consensus," he said. "They are looking for common sense. Most of all, they want action.  I intend to deliver for them in my second term, and I expect to find willing partners in both parties to make that happen."

A Congressional Budget Office report this week warned that the U.S. economy could fall back into recession, and the jobless rate could rise above 9 percent, if no deal is struck on averting the fiscal cliff.

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by: ArcaneDave from: Minneapolis, MN
November 13, 2012 2:01 PM
"He said the contentious issue of raising the U.S. debt limit, which caused the U.S. government's credit rating to be downgraded in 2011, will have to be addressed." Excuse me? Raising the debt limit isn't what caused the rating downgrade, Boehner's willingness to play 'chicken' with the debt ceiling is what caused the downgrade. Leave reality editing to Fox News please.


by: Tom Richards MAmoderate from: Norh Attleboo, MA
November 13, 2012 1:53 PM
Mr. President, Your to-do list:
1. Let the Bush tax cuts expire! Only plutocrats fear the "fiscal cliff".
2. Then submit a bill to extend the tax cuts for those earning under $250K. The House will have to accept it.
3. Submit a bill to raise the top marginal rate to 70% or more. Eisenhower took it up to 91% and the country flourished! It would curb the rip-off lust.
4. Direct your Treasury Secretary to pay a pittance on debts, to balance the budget.
5. Borrow not, except for needed infrastructure. Invest in our infrastructue, to provide jobs for returning vets and others.
6. Ask Speaker Boehner for a list of spending cuts and publicly decide stating why.
7. Direct your Secretary of State to cut foreign aid, except for food that actually reaches the hungry. Encourage plentry of talk and pick up the tab for lunch.
8. The wars are won and over. So, bring the troops home now, except from bases retained for monitoring and launching reprisals.
9. Submit a simple bill to replace Obamacare with a single-payer option for all citizens under Medicare.
10. Submit a simple bill ending medical insurance and life pensions for elected federal officials (Congress) and replace it with 401K plans.
11. Ask the neoGOP House (Boehner) for a list of their tax code fixes and push for those acceptable to you, submitting bills one by one.
12. Refer to Article. 1, Section. 8. of our Constitution. Appoint a commission headed by Ron Paul to study ending the Federal Reserve.


by: Bearman from: Arizona
November 09, 2012 6:44 AM
Wouldn't he first to know something about economics? So far he has helped the economy in the same shameful way that Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd helped Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac.

In Response

by: Anonymous
November 13, 2012 1:32 PM
get rid of Speaker Boehner and you might accomplish something!

In Response

by: Anonymous
November 12, 2012 8:59 PM
You mean under orders of the Pres. GW Bush White House?

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