House Speaker John Boehner said on Friday that Republicans and President Obama really have, in fact, reached a “stalemate” in their negotiations over how to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff” of scheduled tax hikes and spending cuts set to hit only a month from now.
The public posturing that over the last 24 hours has signaled the two sides are at loggerheads is an accurate reflection of the reality, said the Ohio Republican during a Capitol news conference
“There’s a stalemate — let’s not kid ourselves,” said Boehner. His remarks were followed by a mild tumble in stock prices on Wall Street.
Asked if Boehner's description of talks being at a stalemate was accurate, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said, "I hope not. I hope not."
"Maybe that was just a figure of speech," she said at a news conference.
Pelosi added, "I don't know what the wait is for" toward reaching a deal. "Why are we stalling?" she asked, saying that dragging a resolution to the end of the month will only further jeopardize consumer confidence during the holiday season, as well as market confidence.
But Boehner said his assessment is real. “If you’ve watched me over the last three weeks, I’ve been very guarded in what I have to say because I don’t want to make it harder for me or the president or members for both parties to be able to find common ground,” he said.
Boehner again characterized a proposal from the White House on Friday as not “serious.”
Republicans don’t want to back down from their opposition to Democratic demands to raise tax rates on any income group, including on incomes above $250,000.
Boehner pointed out on Friday that Republicans have been willing to put new revenues on the table — “but revenues that come from closing loopholes, getting rid of special-interest deductions and not raising rates.”
“We think that is better for the economy, clear and simple,” said Boehner. “I took a great risk,” he also claimed, by making that offer the day after the election.
But Boehner said, “Then the White House took three weeks to develop a proposal,” referring to a plan delivered by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Thursday. He panned that as calling for “$1.6 trillion in new taxes, not even $400 billion in cuts, and they want to have this extra spending that is actually greater than the amount they’re willing to cut.”
“It’s not a serious proposal,” he said.