House Speaker John Boehner told his caucus Wednesday that both sides are still far apart – in fact “not close at all” – on a deal that might avert the fiscal cliff and warned lawmakers to be prepared to work through the holidays.
“He was not a happy camper,” said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., after Boehner’s closed-door meeting with fellow House Republicans.
Boehner rejected President Obama’s latest offer that reduced the amount of tax revenue Democrats seek to $1.4 trillion from $1.6 trillion over 10 years.
Even that cut of $200 billion “cannot pass the House or the Senate,” Boehner told reporters.
“I remain the most optimistic person in this town, but we’ve got some serious differences,” said Boehner.
Boehner did not indicate Wednesday whether there might be any changes in the his own bargaining position, but another lawmaker, Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona, said the Republicans in the room indicated to Boehner they don’t want him to cave on revenue.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor told Republicans to be prepared to stay in Washington right up until Christmas Eve and then again in the days before the new year begins.
Time is running short for the White House and Congress to resolve their impasse over $500 billion in year-end tax increases and spending cuts that economics have warned could push the United States back into recession.