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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid