With just 13 days to go before the nation could fall over an economic fiscal cliff, President Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner have been inching toward an agreement but are still miles apart on a final deal.
On Monday, the president offered major concessions that include raising tax rates on households earning more than $400,000, up from the $250,000 threshold he campaigned on. He also agreed to raise $1.2 trillion in new revenue and lower cost-of-living increases for most social security beneficiaries. But less than 24 hours later, Boehner is pushing "Plan B," which he said would "stop whatever tax rate increases we can."
On Jan. 1, tax reductions implemented under former President George W. Bush are set to expire. In addition, automatic cuts will be made to domestic discretionary spending programs and the Defense Department's budget.
The speaker's alternative proposal would raise taxes for Americans earning more than $1 million. He also plans to bring a bill to the House floor for a vote, perhaps as early as this week, in case he can't reach an agreement with Obama by Dec. 31.
Both the White House and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have rejected the idea.
Obama "is not willing to accept a deal that doesn't ask enough of the nation's very wealthiest in taxes and instead shifts the burden to the middle class and seniors," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon. "The speaker's 'Plan B' approach doesn't meet this test because it can't pass the Senate and therefore will not protect middle class families, and does little to address our fiscal challenges with zero spending cuts."
Nonetheless, Carney told reporters, Obama will continue a "good faith" effort to reach a deal with Boehner.
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(Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
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