Obama, Congress Continue Fiscal Cliff Negotiations
President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders are negotiating a deal on the fiscal cliff, but even with Christmas less than two weeks away, House Speaker Boehner says there are still significant differences to overcome. Washington, D.C. bureau reporter Erin Billups filed the following report for NY1.
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It's looking less and less likely that the president and House Republicans will come to an agreement to avert the so-called fiscal cliff within the next couple of weeks.
"I don't think anybody thinks there will be a deal before the Christmas break," said Rep. Virginia Foxx. "But everybody wants a deal."
While the lines of communication are open between both parties, neither side likes what they're hearing.
"The president has called for $1.4 trillion worth of revenue," said House Speaker John Boehner. "That cannot pass the House or the Senate. The president and I had a pretty frank conversation about just how far apart we are."
Several rank-and-file Republicans have signaled a willingness to talk higher taxes on the wealthy.
"I would consider revenue if it means we're going to have a serious conversation about solving the crisis that is now upon us," said Rep. Tom Reed, a Republican from New York.
The biggest issue, however, according to some Republicans, is spending. They want the president to commit to true spending cuts now, not promises to do it later.
"Where are your specifics on the spending cuts?" said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
Democrats said spending reductions are on the table, but they stress they must come with higher taxes for the rich.
"They have refused to accept the fundamental fact that higher-income Americans, millionaires and billionaires, the top 2 percent of earners, are not going to have their tax cuts extended," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. "The president has made that clear."
If a deal is not reached before January, there will be severe spending cuts, along with higher taxes for everyone. The House is already making plans to extend its session through the holidays.