House GOP leaders prepare for fiscal cliff talks
November 14th, 2012
07:45 PM ET
2 years ago

House GOP leaders prepare for fiscal cliff talks

Washington (CNN) - House Speaker John Boehner Wednesday stuck to his post-election tone of saying he wants to come to agreement with President Obama to avert the fiscal cliff, and he moved to set up a team of House Republicans to help negotiate the details.

"If you've looked closely at what the president had to say and looked closely at what I've had to say, there are no barriers here to sitting down and beginning to work through this process," Boehner told reporters at a press conference on Capitol Hill after House GOP members re-nominated him to his position for the next Congress.

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Boehner added, "I don't think anyone on either side of the aisle underestimates the difficulty that faces us but I do think that the spirit of cooperation that you've seen over the last week, from myself and my team, from Democrats across the aisle, from the President, have created an atmosphere where I think that I'll remain optimistic."

But as he's done every time he's publicly addressed the issue, the Speaker restated his opposition to allowing any of the current tax rates to go up. "There are ways to put revenue on the table without increasing tax rates. We've talked about this now for over a year."

Rep Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, the number two House Republican, echoed the dual message of reaching out, but drawing the line on taxes.

"We say to this president we want to work with you on solutions. We don't understand why raising tax rates is the solution if you want to see people get back to work," Cantor said.

Reporters pressed for greater detail about how much revenue could be raised through closing loopholes, but Boehner said discussing any specifics would "not be conducive to trying to come to an agreement with the White House."

Boehner established a group of key Republicans to help prepare for negotiations with the White House and congressional Democrats.

He tapped former GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee, and two other committee chairmen - Rep. Dave Camp, who heads the tax writing committee, and Rep. Fred Upton, who chairs the panel overseeing major entitlement programs - to help top leaders weigh various proposals.

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel explained these three will join Boehner and the other top House GOP leaders in their regular leadership sessions.

"In preparation for the fiscal cliff talks, the speaker has added Ryan, Upton and Camp to the daily management meetings, in addition to the 'Big Four' that have always been included," Steel said.

House conservatives have indicated that they want Ryan to play a major role in the upcoming negotiations.

Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, who heads a group of fiscal conservatives in the House, said of Ryan on Wednesday, "I hope he's front and center in this debate."

Previewing the fierce fight ahead on the issue of taxes, House conservatives pushed back at Democrats who argue that President Obama's re-election was a vote in support of making wealthier Americans pay higher taxes.

"He has a mandate to talk about it and we have a mandate to fight it," Idaho Republican Raul Labrador said of the President. "I think that's what the American people elected us to do, and we will continue to fight any member of our conference that decides that this is a good time to raise taxes."


Filed under: Fiscal Cliff • John Boehner
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Observer

    That's right use the American middle class as a hostage, you knuckleheads are so screwed up, keep telling the middle class how much you care. A piece of paper extending the tax cuts for the middle class should be put in front of the republican party and if they refuse to sign, post a page with all their names and constituent office phone numbers so they can be told by the middle class how much they appreciate the republican concern for their well being.

    Just a Thought

    November 15, 2012 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  2. kj

    "Boehner said discussing any specifics would "not be conducive to trying to come to an agreement with the White House."

    He doesn't get it

    November 15, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  3. Kef14

    It's sad that the GOP consider extending tax cuts on people making less than 250k/year as the thing they can withhold as their leverage. It really tells you all you need to know about them.

    November 15, 2012 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  4. J.V.Hodgson

    In this debate and positions Republicans take they are using and relying on UGH!, SEMANTICS!!
    Now let me see, let's take away the rich tax deduction for charitable deductions or mortgate relief on several houses and whatever then Romneys "effective tax: rate might get to 16 % ( over his 15% rate on dividends and cap gains) vs his current 13.5 % nowhere near the 4.6% increase in rate. But his rate has gone up!!
    However , lets get real either way = an effective tax rate increase and more taxes on the rich.
    Similarly if you withdraw tax breaks to corporations and close loopholes only the actual corporation tax rate paid as a % rises.
    Me fed up of this semantic debate:-
    1) Up the INCOME tax rates on the rich to pre bush rates, hold the bush rates for middle class $200/250K
    2) Cut the CORPORATE rate to 28% from 35% and pay for it with loophole closures and tax break elimination.
    Do not confuse or conflate INCOME taxes and CORPORATE taxes... they are separate... the only debate to me is AMT which should be abolished.
    That done the fiscal cliff suddenly does not exist. And not a single Semantic get out in that comment.
    Being a financial man I spent a lot of my life with corporates ( and personally) figuring out how to make sure if the max income tax rate was 39.6% % or the corporate tax rate was 35% how could I minimise the amount of income or profit subject to those top rates legally.
    Suffice to say I was well paid = in effect beyond $250 K and I never paid more than a 28 % effective tax rate in any year.
    My company due to loopholes and tax breaks never paid the 35 % nominal corporate rate. Often it is was below 20 %
    Nominal top rates are not the issue i.e Clinton 39.6 or corporate 35% effective rates are the issue. Making those ( effective rates) generate the revenue needed to reduce budget deficits and debt does not need Wonks or semantics it needs simple arithmetic, and realistic assumptions re Economic growth.
    Regards.
    Hodgson.

    November 15, 2012 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  5. MOCaseA

    Yada yada yada... House speaker my foot.

    The qualifications for house speaker should include the ability to set party affiliations aside and work will ALL parties present.

    Yet his team of people all consist of *gasp* Republicans. Their focus is to sit down with the Democrats and try to work out something to avoid the fiscal cliff?!?

    How about this next time: A group of people, interested in avoiding the fiscal cliff, from ALL parties present. Equal representation...

    November 15, 2012 04:15 am at 4:15 am |
  6. Gurgyl

    People lost credence on GOP thugs totally. Election proves it with corroborative evidence. RAISE TAX ON WEALTHY. Pass tax reform. It will take care. At least for a while.

    November 15, 2012 05:10 am at 5:10 am |
  7. Guest

    After more than a decade of the Bush tax cuts spurring our economy, how's that massive economic growth compare to the Clinton years when all tax rates were higher?

    November 15, 2012 05:11 am at 5:11 am |
  8. Marry

    Someone said:
    "Allow the Bush Tax Cuts to expire and you take ALL the air out of the GOP and GOPT-Party balloon....they will have nothing left, not that they brought anything good to the table in the first place.
    NO jobs over the last 10 years have been created by the Bush Tax Cuts an NO jobs will ever be created by the Bush Tax Cuts – if they were going to be, they already would have been. In fact, since no jobs were created, those who receive the Bush Tax Cuts should be taxed extra for the taxes they did not pay, and the jobs they did not create.
    Time to get rid of the rest of the GOP – 2014."
    Exactly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 15, 2012 05:29 am at 5:29 am |
  9. Flowing with the Tao

    " Boehner said discussing any specifics would "not be conducive to trying to come to an agreement with the White House."
    The President has put his cards on the table, where are the Republican's? Mr. Speaker, please, at least do the one thing you are refusing to even comment on. Past the Senate bill removing those making less than $250,000 from the tax hike.

    November 15, 2012 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
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