While President Barack Obama visited a Pennsylvania toy factory as part of his tour to gain public support (WaPo) in the negotiations over the fiscal cliff, portraying Republicans as scrooges at Christmas time, his primary adversary in negotiations, Republican House Speaker John Boehner, continued to describe the situation as a stalemate.
Reuters reports, the argument will resume on Sunday when Boehner, along with Obama’s Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, and others, take to weekly political talk shows and pick up further steam next week with a possible confrontation in the House of Representatives between Democrats and Republicans over the timing of a vote on tax hikes.
President Obama put forward the first offer of the fiscal cliff negotiations Thursday in a plan that includes “$1.6 trillion in tax increases, additional stimulus spending, and a request to permanently raise the government’s debt borrowing limit” as well as $400 billion in Medicare savings over the next decade.
This would include extending the 2 percentage point Social Security payroll tax cut, boosting a tax incentive to businesses, establishing a $50 billion bank for long-term infrastructure projects, and extending unemployment benefits.
But to some budget experts, Obama’s list seems more like an opening round of negotiations, where he has asked for a lot more than he will get.
The total bill: about $255 billion out of the federal government’s pocket – an amount the GOP would likely say needs to be offset by spending cuts elsewhere, says Csmonitor.
Real Clear Politics writes, on Capitol Hill, Boehner argued that Obama’s latest offer would be a “crippling blow” to an economy that is still struggling to find its footing.
The Ohio Republican told reporters he would continue working with Obama to avoid hundreds of billions in tax increases and spending cuts that will take effect beginning in January if Washington doesn’t act to stop it, but gave a gloomy assessment of the talks so far.
“If we can get a few House Republicans on board, we can pass the bill. … I’m ready to sign it,” Obama said.
White House officials hoped Friday’s trip would build momentum for the president’s case, even as Republicans describe the outing as an irritant and an obstacle to fruitful talks.
The road trip was part of a dual White House strategy of having the president’s team meet with members of Congress while Obama travels the country to pressure Congress to act.
According to the White House Blog, if Congress doesn’t act before the end of the year, every family in America will see their income taxes automatically go up on January 1.
President Obama said: “A typical middle-class family of four would see their income taxes go up by about $2,200. That’s for a typical family — it would be more for some folks. That’s money a lot of families just can’t afford to lose.
That’s less money to buy gas, less money to buy groceries. In some cases, it means tougher choices between paying the rent and saving for college. It means less money to buy more K’nex.”