Washington, DC, United States (4E) – House Speaker John Boehner flatly rejected the request for powers by President Barack Obama to raise the federal government’s debt limit, as part of discussions to avert the “fiscal cliff.”
On Thursday, Boehner and President Obama met privately for another round of back-and-forth talks on spending cuts, tax hikes and other possible ways to avoid the event that would kick in at the start of next year.
Both congressional Republicans and the Obama administration have exchanged insults over the talks, with the White House spokesperson Jay Carney on Thursday casting Boehner’s proposal as “fantasy economics.”
Earlier, Boehner told media reporters that Obama is not serious about reaching a deal to avert the automatic spending cuts and expiration of Bush administration tax cuts — all will start to take effect after the year ends.
If allowed to take effect, the mix of deep spending cuts and tax rises could put on the brakes on the fragile U.S. economic recovery. With just less than three weeks to go before the year ends, lawmakers are becoming more concerned that time is running out on a deal.
Obama received a letter from a group of Democrats warning him that accepting the GOP proposals could lead to reduction of entitlement programs, including an increase of the eligibility age for Medicare.
Politico reported that Boehner privately proposed to Obama that he is open to a $800bn in additional tax revenues, although did not say how the amount will be raised. Boehner and the Republicans have strongly opposed raising taxes for the high-income earners. Obama, on the other hand, has pushed for increased tax rates for people earning more than $250,000.