News / USA

Republicans Say Fiscal Talks Still Stalled

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) speaks to the media outside his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, December 7, 2012.
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) speaks to the media outside his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, December 7, 2012.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress appear to remain far apart in talks to avert the so-called fiscal cliff of $600 billion in automatic government spending cuts and expiring tax cuts.  The latest U.S. jobs figures played into the debate.

With days dwindling for a compromise, the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, bluntly accused the White House of wasting time and deliberately pushing the economy closer to the precipice.

Boehner says President Obama failed to counter an offer this past week from House Republicans of $800 billion in higher tax revenues, half of President Obama's $1.6 trillion offer as an opening negotiating position three weeks ago.

"Reports indicate that the president has adopted a deliberate strategy to slow walk our economy right to the edge of the fiscal cliff," Boehner said.  "Instead of reforming the tax code and cutting spending, the president wants to raise [tax] rates.  But even if he got the tax rate hike he wanted, understand we would continue to see trillion dollar deficits for as far as [the] eye can see."

Boehner described his latest telephone conversation with Obama as pleasant but "more of the same" and accused the president of adopting a "my way or the highway" approach.


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.
President Obama insists that expiring Bush-era tax cuts be extended for those earning $250,000 or less, but is firm that wealthier Americans need to pay more to support deficit reduction.

A key issue under discussion is the specific level below Clinton-era rates for top income earners that would be set by any compromise.  

Vice President Joe Biden said the White House will respond to "any serious offer" and said the issue of extending middle class tax cuts should be separated from tax levels for the wealthy.

"Do not hold hostage the relief for the middle class because you insist that 120,000 families get a $500 billion tax cut over the next 10 years," he said.

Before a meeting with President Obama on Friday, House of Representatives Democratic minority leader Nancy Pelosi spoke on Capitol Hill.
 
U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks to the media on Capitol Hill, December 7, 2012.U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks to the media on Capitol Hill, December 7, 2012.
x
U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks to the media on Capitol Hill, December 7, 2012.
U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks to the media on Capitol Hill, December 7, 2012.
"As long as they will not touch one hair on the head, or get one red cent from the high end [earners], we will never have the revenue necessary to combine with the savings and with the spending cuts to reduce the deficit, to create jobs, to grow the economy, to improve the lives of the American people," she said.

Economists warn that failure to reach a compromise will slow the U.S. economy in the new year.  The hope is for a "down payment" agreement that would set the stage for much broader deficit and debt negotiations in 2013.

Playing into the debate on Friday were the latest government jobs figures showing 146,000 jobs added to the economy, and a drop in overall unemployment from 7.9 to 7.7 percent.

Asked if Republicans are concerned that failure to reach a compromise with the president could harm job growth, Boehner said it is Obama who is risking such damage by insisting on higher taxes for wealthier Americans.

The White House called the latest employment report, showing the 33rd straight month of private sector job increases, further evidence the economy continues to heal from the recession that began in 2007.

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More