Washington (CNN) – House Speaker John Boehner said he's "not confident at all" that Congress can reach a budget deal to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff" at the end of this year.
On Tuesday morning Moody's, a credit rating agency, released a report threatening to lower the U.S. government's AAA credit rating if Congress didn't agree to a major deficit reduction package. Asked by CNN how confident he was that congressional negotiators could avoid that action Boehner replied, "I'm not confident at all."
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The fiscal cliff is the combination of the automatic cuts to federal programs scheduled to go into effect in January and the tax increases that would result from expiration of all of the "Bush era" tax cuts at the end of this year.
The speaker maintained that House Republicans already passed legislation to replace those spending cuts and extend all the current tax rates.
"Listen the House has done its job on both the sequester and the looming tax hikes that will cost our economy some 700,000 jobs," Boehner said, and shifted the blame to Democrats, adding, "The Senate at some point has to act. And on both of these – where is the President? Where's the leadership? Absent without leading."
Although Moody's report specified it would consider cutting the government's rating if an agreement didn't emerge in the next year, an aide to Boehner told CNN that the speaker's comments reflected his confidence level about reaching a deal by the end of 2012. Without any serious bipartisan negotiations taking place, both parties are expected to return to the issue in the lame duck session of Congress in mid-November.
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, said there were some discussions going on now, but conceded "there has not been a great deal of movement' on any potential budget deal.
But Hoyer was more upbeat about a deal emerging - after the election.
"I am optimistic that once this election is over that the patriotism of members – Republicans and Democrats – will come and summon them to coming to an agreement on the most important question confronting this nation and that is putting this nation on a more fiscally sustainable credible path."
Even after Congress reached a deal in the summer of 2011 to raise the debt limit and agreed to a series of spending cuts, Standard & Poor's, one of Moody's rival credit rating agencies, downgraded for the first time the U.S. credit rating.
As part of the automatic cuts, the military would especially be hit hard–-a measure both parties say they want to prevent. A spokeswoman for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign said the president "agrees that we should avoid the automatic defense cuts."
"That's why he has called on Congressional Republicans to help prevent them with a balanced plan that asks millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share," Lis Smith said in a statement.
The president's plan has some support in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Responding to Boehner's comments, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was "disappointed."
"I think we have to look at the glass being half-full, not half-empty all the time. I'm confident we will reach some kind of an arrangement," Reid told reporters on Capitol Hill. "We will continue with the middle class tax cut that the Senate passed. It's much, much too early to give up."
Asked what made him so optimistic about a deal, Reid pointed to what he sees as dwindling momentum for the tea party.
"I've been here for a while, and I believe once the elections are over, the tea party strength will be significantly weakened," he said.
On her part, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released a statement, calling on Boehner to keep the chamber in session until they solve the problem.
"Democrats are committed to staying in session as long as it takes to ensure certainty for the middle class and growth for the economy," she said. "The ball is in Speaker Boehner's court."
– CNN Political Producer Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.
Spoken by the Orange Glow Man from the party of NO!
Boehner is a Traitor to america. He should be impeached and relieved of his command immediately. This weeping willy is not fit to serve!
That's because your tea party masters are telling you this.
Republicans aren't willing to compromise. They put forth a take it or leave it proposal that the President has made it crystal clear that he won't sign so where is the negotiation? Where is the compromise? The Republicans better start budging or better start packing.
The goals of Democrats is to give everyone equal opportunity through fair and prudent laws. Only by working together can *we* have we grown in the past, and it is the only way for us to grow in the future.
The goal of Republicans is to remove as many laws as possible, weakening the public government and concentrating the power in the hands of a few private individuals. Everyone else is on their own.
Everyone, except for Republicans of course, knows that the whole is stronger than the sum of it’s parts.
The right wing loves to do the song and dance routine about how Pres. Obama has not had a budget for some umpteen months on end. What they fail to tell about are all of the Continuing Resolutions, those laws that keep the governent running when no budget agreement is reached. What they fail to tell you is that CRs make an annual budget moot.
What they fail to tell you is that the Congress has passed CRs and debt ceiling modifications for almost the entire time that Pres. Obama has been in office. What they fail to tell you is that Pres. Reagan had 18 CRs during his two terms, and no passed budgets.
Here we go again – the GOP has absolutely no interest in doing what is best for the country. And that is why Obama will be handily re-elected.
Poor John Boehner. Those pesky TeaPers got in his way of actually being a somewhat creditable Speaker of the House. Boy, oh boy, did Americans fall for the Tea Party back in 2010, or what? It's getting to the point that we can't be sure who they represent anymore. Mean, nasty, vicious liars spreading nothing but hate and discontent. Each and every one of them.
Partisanism before patriotism continues.
This is why America is loosing the "Dream". The GOP has taking oath to burn and slash everything, for election victory, at the reckless and costly expense of all Americans.And that's why Romney &GOP should not be rewarded this election. Their selfishness is almost treason.
There is only one way that a deal can be made. John Boehner needs to get a backbone and tell Grover Norquist and all of the Conservatives who signed his silly pledge what to do with it. Norquist is blackmailing all of those people in Congress and he isn't even an elected official. He's a lobbyist. As Bush 41 said "Who the H- is Grover Norquist?" A solution can be made but it will tax cuts AND revenue. In Europe, the countries following only austerity measures are slipping back into recession. It just doesn't work. So, everyone should focus clearly on the Conservatives and see if they walk the talk.
Translation: "We're still in Teatroll meetings trying to decide how we can cause the credit rating downgrade and then blame it on Obama."
"the patriotism of members"
"our number one priority is maknig him a one-term president"
'Nuff said. Eff you GOPers.
Get out of town you useless bum with the orange skin. You sent a Republican bill that you want passed and it contains a bunch of goodies for the wealthy and rich which you know has no chance in hell of passing. Come clean for once in your miserable life, you damn pumpkin.
If he can't get his caucus to work towards a deal, then he needs to be fired. He has a job to do, a very important one, and if he can't get it done, then he needs to be canned. End of story. I don't care about which side is at fault, it is Boehner's job to get the House to pass a compromise. If he can't do it, he is imcompetent and needs to get the axe.
The automatic spending cuts should focus on congressional spending and congressional tax breaks.
House Speaker John Boehner said he's "not confident at all" that Congress can reach a budget deal to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff" at the end of this year.
Hypocrisy! John Boehner is the one who proclaimed during an interview that he would never compromise with Democrats, his values, his principles, or anything else for any reasonm, not even for the good of the country. And, he has lived up to that promise. He's gotten "98%" of what he's wanted as Speaker of the House. I guess that 98% doesn't go to 98% of the people, though. That 98% was for the 2%.
Well Johnny old boy, if you grew a pair and knew how to man up instead of crying all tHe dam time, you could've avoided all of this if you passed the grand bargain you and the President agreed upon. But like we all know, this is the worst Congress EVER!!!!
Fret not, Orange-Glow. Your no-confidence vote is coming November 6. Then you can go back to weeping and sweeping up your daddy’s redneck bar.
Dump Boehner ! ! ! ! This guy is the most useless Congressman to hit Washington – nothing more than a Parrot for the TEA Party. I say: OFF THE CLIFF ! ! ! Let Republicans explain the cuts they proposed to the military.
He's not sure he can do his job? FIRE HIS ORANGE A55.
On Tuesday morning Moody's, a credit rating agency, released a report threatening to lower the U.S. government's AAA credit rating if Congress didn't agree to a major deficit reduction package.
this is for all the brain dead lefties in here that keep claiming the country was down graded because of the tea party. it was down graded, and will be down graded again, because the clueless obama and his leftist democrats are hell bent on spending this country into bankruptcy. greece here we come. and the miniscule $80 billion in taxes from the rich isn't going to save the country so please, enough with the worthless class warfare rhetoric to mask your insane spending.
so you mean this time there is a chance he WON'T get 95% of what he wants? Tis a pity!
Hey John – you're not sure you can do your job? Give the Gavel back to Nancy. SHE CAN DO THE JOB. SHE HAS PROVEN IT.
Speaker Boehner isn't confident about the budget because he can't deliver the votes from his own caucus, especially from the just say no to everything obstructionist Tea Party Republican members.
I'm a little confused by this fiscal cliff. I thought cutting spending and raising taxes was the answer to our deficit problems.