After two long weeks, fiscal negotiations have gone "almost nowhere" House Speaker John Boehner told reporters during a press conference in the Capitol on Friday.
Boehner said President Obama's offer, which was delivered by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Thursday, wasn't a "serious proposal" and doesn't cut spending nearly enough. Unsurprisingly, he added that the president's plan to increase tax rates on the wealthy was the "wrong approach."
“Let’s not kid ourselves. I’m not trying to make this more difficult. 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 of both parties to find common ground.” - Read more at Politico
McCONNELL'S SPENDING CUT WISH LIST Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell joined Boehner by scoffing at the White House's plan, admitting that he laughed when Treasury Secretary Geithner delivered the proposal to him on Thursday. "The plan wouldn't have passed the House under then Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), let alone the current Congress," McConnell told The Wall Street Journal during an interview on Friday. He added that Republicans would be more willing to agree to tax revenue, though not through increasing tax rates, if the White House agrees to higher Medicare premiums for the wealthy, an increase in the Medicare eligibility age and a slowing of cost-of-living increases for programs like Social Security. - Read more at The Wall Street Journal
PRESIDENT OBAMA ASKS AMERICANS TO PRESSURE CONGRESS Meanwhile, President Obama turned up the pressure on Congress, warning Americans that their fiscal fate is up to Republicans to spare middle class families from massive tax hikes set to trigger at the year's end.
"If Congress does nothing, every family in America will see their income taxes automatically go up on January 1st. Every family, everybody here, you’ll see your taxes go up on January 1st. I mean, I’m assuming that doesn’t sound too good to you. That’s sort of like the lump of coal you get for Christmas. That’s a Scrooge Christmas," Obama told workers during a speech at a toy factory in Pennsylvania on Friday. "The good news is there’s a second option. Right now, Congress can pass a law that would prevent a tax hike on the first $250,000 of everybody’s income -- everybody. So that means 98 percent of Americans, 97 percent of small businesses wouldn’t see their income taxes go up by a single dime…” - Read the president's speech here
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