‘Fiscal cliff’ deal unlikely to be done before Christmas warns Harry Reid as Obama says GOP will cave on taxes
- President Obama and Speaker John Boehner continue to discuss ways to avoid ‘fiscal cliff’ but top Democrat says it may take some time
- Obama believes that Republicans will join Democrats, but Boehner says White House is ‘slow-walking’ into trouble
PUBLISHED: 20:36 EST, 11 December 2012 | UPDATED: 20:37 EST, 11 December 2012
President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner continue to negotiate on how to solve the upcoming ‘fiscal cliff’ but the Senate’s top Democrat isn’t offering much festive cheer.
Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Tuesday that ‘it’s going to be extremely difficult’ to reach a deal before Christmas.
Reid told CNBC that legislation is still far off and that ‘Until we hear something from Republicans, there’s nothing to draft.’
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Talks and counter-offers are ongoing between Obama and Boehner as they try to work out a way to forestall next year’s automatic tax increases and spending cuts that could hurt the economy.
Obama and Boehner met on Sunday at the White House. The White House then offered a new proposal lowering its proposed figure for tax revenue from $1.6 trillion to $1.4 trillion.
Boehner offered a Republican counter-proposal in a phone discussion early on Tuesday evening.
While this conversation and the exchange of offers indicated stepped up activity, it was unclear whether the talks were resulting in real progress.
Even if a deal is reached soon, time is needed to draft a bill and get it through the House and Senate and to Obama. Reid said: ‘This is not something we can do easily.’
Obama and Boehner continue to blame each other for the deadlock.
On ABC News today, President Obama said he believed that Republicans would eventually join Democrats to extend current rates for 98 percent of earners before the end of 2012.
‘I’m pretty confident that Republicans would not hold middle class taxes hostage to trying to protect tax cuts for high-income individuals,’ Obama said.
He added ‘I remain optimistic. I’d like to see a big package. But the most important thing we can do is make sure that middle class taxes do not go up on January 1.
But John Boehner accused the president of ‘slow-walking’ towards the cliff, as reported separately by ABC.
‘Where are the president’s spending cuts? The longer the White House slow-walks this process, the closer our economy gets to the cliff,’ Boehner said on the floor of the House of Representatives.
After the men met to discuss the economic problem on December 9, Boehner said:’It was a nice meeting, it was cordial, but we’re still waiting for the White House to identify what spending cuts the president is willing to make as part of the ‘balanced approach’ he promised the American people.’
VIDEO: President Obama says GOP will cave on taxes