President Obama Firm on ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Amid Republican Disarray

Republicans and Democrats held “fiscal cliff” negotiations on Wednesday, but neither compromises nor solutions were reached.

Both sides urged on quick to agree over the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ but no compromises were offered and no signs of breaking surfaced. Photo: The White House/Flickr

Less than a month rest for the government to decide on spending cuts and tax increases that start to take effect in January unless Congress acts, leading Republican in the House of Representatives called on President Barack Obama to initiate face-to-face talks and blamed him for a lack of action.

“Where are the discussions? Nothing is going on,” Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor told reporters. “We ask the president to sit down with us and be serious.”

Wednesday saw the news that the re-elected U.S. president renewed his call to increase tax rates on the wealth as part of the final resolution, and to call for including an increase in the nation’s borrowing limit, Reuters informs.

Republicans have recently announced that they would not let tax rates rise on the wealthy Americans with income more than 250,000 a year in exchange for extending low rates for the other 98 percent of taxpayers.

“I’m hearing whispers, I was over on the House side yesterday, I’m hearing whispers of a light going off in some people’s minds,” on the tax rates, said Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee.

“All he is talking about is rates on the upper income, so if the House were to give that to him, where does the discussion then go? It goes to entitlements which is where it ought to be in the first place,” the politician added.

Senator Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, suggested that the focus on the end-of-year economic problem was ignoring the long-term threat posed by U.S. debt.

The Republican insisted that the path to prosperity would require at least a $9 trillion of spending cuts and tax increases over a decade, rather than the $4 trillion which is being discussed now.

“Personally I know we have to raise revenue. I don’t really care which way we do it. Actually, I would rather see the rates go up than do it the other way because it gives us a greater chance to reform the tax code and broaden the base in the future,” Coburn said in his recent interview.

A Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill appeared to be more optimistic, saying an expected deal would include entitlement reform of government-sponsored healthcare programs like Medicare.

“I do think that if there’s not a deal by the end of the year, there will be a deal the first week in January. And the markets need to be aware that this is not going to be, you know, some kind of complete meltdown. We will get a deal,” she told reporters.

By the way, yesterday Republicans provided to the White House a plan which included steep changes to Medicare, extensions of all the Bush tax cuts and large cuts to mandatory and discretionary spending.

However, the offer was turned down as a stale GOP wish list that would hurt the middle class.

In private both sides seemed to be more optimistic. The Republican plan also presupposes negotiators with a framework to match the one provided by Obama’s administration last week.

A top House Republican also admitted “definitely” progress that the White House and GOP leaders have now put forward opening bids, saying the administration still has retreat from its “absurd and ridiculous” starting point.

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