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

Multimedia Ferguson, Missouri Streets Calm After Days of Violence

Police official says authorities responded to fewer incidents, noting there were no shootings, Molotov cocktails or fires More

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

For Chanthy Sok, rap infused with Cambodian melodies is a way to pay respect to the survivors of the victims of Khmer Rouge genocide More

Study: Our Life with Neanderthals Was No Brief Affair

Scientists discover thousands of years of overlap between modern humans and their shorter, stockier cousins More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid