U.S. House Speaker John Boehner reiterated his call for President Barack Obama to offer proposed spending cuts as part of a deficit-reduction package.
“Where are the president’s spending cuts?” Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said on the House floor Tuesday in Washington. He said he is still “hopeful” the parties can reach a budget agreement before the end of the year.
“The longer the White House slow-walks this process, the closer” the economy gets to the so-called fiscal cliff of tax increases and spending cuts set to begin in January, the speaker said.
“Right now the American people have to be scratching their heads and wondering: When is the president going to be serious?” Boehner said.
Talks on a budget plan remain deadlocked because administration negotiators have taken much different positions that what Obama outlined in his discussions with Boehner Nov. 9 on how much revenue to raise and the amounts of spending cuts, congressional aides said.
If Congress doesn’t act, more than $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts will start taking effect Jan. 1. Tax rates for income at all levels would rise, along with taxes on estates, capital gains and dividends.
The Congressional Budget Office has said that if nothing changes, the stalemate probably would lead to a recession in the first half of 2013. Obama and Boehner are trying to replace the immediate deficit reduction in the so-called fiscal cliff with more gradual tax and spending changes.
While private talks continue between the administration and aides to Boehner, each side has been insisting publicly that the other must give in first.
“For all the president’s talk about the need for a balanced approach, the truth is he and his Democratic allies simply refuse to be pinned down on any spending cuts,” Senator Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said on the Senate floor. “The president seems to think if all he talks about are taxes, and that’s all reporters write about, somehow the rest of us will magically forget that government spending is completely out of control.”
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