Boehner ‘Flabbergasted’ at Fiscal Cliff Proposal
By Greg Clary
(CNN) — House Speaker John Boehner painted a bleak picture Sunday when talking about fiscal cliff negotiations between the White House and Republicans.
“Right now I would say we’re nowhere. Period. We’re nowhere. We’ve put a serious offer on the table by putting revenues up there to try to get this question resolved, but the White House has responded with virtually nothing,” Boehner said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Boehner said the reason negotiations are going so poorly is that Obama administration officials – in particular, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner – aren’t taking Republicans seriously. Boehner said he was shocked at Geithner’s proposal to Republicans last week.
“I was flabbergasted. I looked at him and I said, ‘You can’t be serious.’ I’ve just never seen anything like it,” Boehner said.
Geithner has said his plan included cuts to Medicare and additional stimulus spending, but also an expiration of Bush-era tax cuts to those making over $250,000 a year. Furthermore, the proposal included the closing of some loopholes and new limits on deductions, as well as an increase in the estate tax rate and taxes on capital gains and dividends.
Boehner acknowledged that President Barack Obama won the election on a platform that in part was based on increasing taxes for those making over $250,000. This is a major sticking point in negotiations, and Boehner said the president must compromise with the GOP.
“They won the election, (but) they must have forgotten that Republicans continue to hold the majority in the House. But the president’s idea of a negotiation is, ‘Roll over and do what I ask,'” Boehner said.
While Boehner admitted that going over the fiscal cliff would be detrimental to the economy, he said out-of-control spending is mortgaging the future of the next generation and must be reined in. Accordingly, the speaker said going over that cliff is a distinct possibility.
“I’m determined to solve our debt problem. We have a serious debt problem and it is going to be dealt with,” Boehner said.