December 2nd, 2012
11:25 AM ET
2 years ago

Boehner ‘flabbergasted’ at fiscal cliff proposal

(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."

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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.


Filed under: Fiscal Cliff • John Boehner • President Obama
soundoff (905 Responses)
  1. Zon

    Flabbergasted, huh? The President is saying the same things he has for a year. Why is that any surprise? In fact, he won an election on it. Besides, isn't it Congres' job to pass tax and spending bills?

    December 2, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  2. Spacenip

    This is all positioning to try to come out looking as good as they can. They know they have no leverage on taxes, but they are fighting because their constituents expect them to. Sequestration will not happen because those cuts will effect donors in all of these congressmen's districts. The most important thing to any of these people is getting re-elected. So they won't let those donors down. With the taxes, they are figuring out if it's better to make the deal, or wait for the new year, when Obama will float a bill with the exact same tax policy and they will vote for it, because all of a sudden it will be a "tax cut for America's middle class", whereas today its "socialism". This is all a game.

    December 2, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  3. Cheryl

    Gabbo, you would have thought Abraham Lincoln was the most divisive president ever. But sometimes a president has to do what's morally right even if it angers a segment of society. People who benefit from the status quo don't want change. Right now the rich have stacked the game in their favor and they're not interested in anyone else getting a share of the pie. It's up to the president to represent what's best for the majority of americans.

    The anger you feel toward President Obama is not because he's divisive; it's about what was always inside of you but only rose to the surface when a black man got elected.

    December 2, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  4. PHD

    Get your head out of your tail end. The American people want the crooks taxed more. Do it or you won't control the house midterm

    December 2, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  5. John

    Candice you are uninformed if you really believe Obama built the fiscal cliff.

    December 2, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. dan

    Socialism didn't work in Europe it won't work here. Don't understand how you can do do spend yourself out of debt.

    December 2, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  7. rs

    Flabberghasted is right- after making the greatest number of millionaires and billionaires EVER in American history; and having record corporate profits and payouts, two things are abundantly clear:"First- trickle down economics doesn't work. We have bathed the rich in the lowest tax rates ever (down from 87% in 1958)- where are those Jobs?? The rich got richer and the legions of the poor grew.

    Second- Cutting taxes and spending is a horrible idea. That is the Republican plan and it must stop. Foreign nation-building ill-conceived warshave to be cut, and taxes on those who can afford them simply have to go up. This isn't "economic warfare" or "class envy." That is simply GOP BS.Common sense says that as the Bush tax cuts were emplaced to bleed off the federal budget surpluss of 2000, it doesn't take a genius to see the surplus is long , long gone. Time to put taxes back (at least) to where they were.

    December 2, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. Ed Fikani

    OK Speaker John Boehner we get it. We're going over because you and the rest of the just-say-no Congress are in to many top 2% pockets. You never have and never will represent the United States, You are slaves to special interest Money. It's all coming down on Jan 1 and you idiots will be the ones responsible. I wonder if even Grover or Rove can keep a House Majority. First the S&P downgrade, and now this ultimate failure of duty. I wish we could bring all of you up on treason charges but 2014 will have to do. See you at the mid-terms. As for now, there is a lot of organizing to do.

    December 2, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  9. Paul

    The Bush era tax cuts are not the problem, the OUT OF CONTROL spending in washington is the problem. What many if you seem unable to grasp is that balancing the budget is a great first step, but as a nation we MUST eliminate the deficit in addition to moving forward with a balanced budget to get anywhere of consequence. This will unequivocally require cuts to government programs. But let's just tax the rich, and hope that does it, because after all they are rich, and must do their part to carry everyone else. Heaven forbid the other half of the population at large pay any federal taxes.

    December 2, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  10. Marry

    Boehner on "FOX" – playing to the hardcore followers! ON FOX the home of “no compromise Rush” – how serious can that be??? Oh, dear GOP, this will get you nowhere! Pathetic!

    December 2, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  11. AFRetired

    Most divisive opposition leadership in living memory. Boehner and McConnell have no interest in working for the benefit of America but for themselves. They are right that spending cuts need to be made. We need cuts in entitlements and military spending. However, increase in taxes is also critical. For four years they have actively worked to undermine the President and have badly damaged our economy. Lost in all this, are the other beligerent and destructive behavior they have exhibited on blocking judges and other legislation. It is time for them to grow up and work to address the problems facing our great country.

    December 2, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  12. Sinator

    Thank you to my countrymen for continuing to elect our leaders from these two parties of corrupt and inept politicians. Way to never learn from your mistakes.

    December 2, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  13. Curt

    Are the republicans ever going to get it? Maybe most of the debt problems are caused by the Bush tax cuts which most economist said did nothing to create jobs, two unnecessary wars put on the credit card and their continued stalling has affected the U.S. credit rating and will continue to do so. The people have spoken and re-elected Obama, obviously they did not buy what the republicans were trying to sell. The 1-2% can afford to go back to the tax rate they paid prior to Bush. I think the republicans better fast learn what the people they represent want or next election they may find themselves unemployed.

    December 2, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  14. Marry

    Boehner on "FOX" – playing to the hardcore followers! ON FOX the home of “no compromise Rush” – how serious can that be??? Oh, dear GOP, this will you get nowhere! Pathetic!!!

    December 2, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  15. Bubba

    Here we go again... Obama is always right and everybody else is wrong....Americans must learn lessons from Soviets. Re- distribution of wealth leads nowhere.

    December 2, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  16. Nodack

    End the tax breaks on the rich. Has Boener offered that? NO! Ending some loopholes is BS. End the Bush tax breaks, that is what Obama campaigned for and that is what America voted for.

    Until you do that you are wasting everybody's time Boener.

    December 2, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  17. Vern

    What's flabbergasting is that the Republican leadership STILL hasn't gotten the message from the election. The American people are FOR ending the Bush tax cuts on the top 2% of the wealthiest Americans. They are AGAINST the GOP and it's "just say no" to everything that the President proposes. They have stated, with the vote, that they want this gridlock to end, and that, if it continues, the GOP will take the Lion's share of the blame.

    Boehner and the GOP leadership are living in a world of delusion, where they think the President should compromise with them-the party that just got its butt kicked at the polls, and not the other way around.

    And what is truly flabbergasting is that the GOP, after this butt-kicking, continues to try and shelter the richest of Americans, and are willing to take the nation into another recession because of their own irresponsibility.

    December 2, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  18. Pete

    When one side puts up a baseline, you have to work with it or counter in a negotiation where walking away isn't an option. That's the thing about the fiscal cliff – the Republicans have played the over the top card so often it will get pinned on them. And it should. We aren't in this mess because of Mexicans and poor people. We are in this mess because we gave the rich a free pass and didn't pay for the Republicans' wars. We need to stop being the world's policeman and let the UN handle that, and we need to stop coddling our greedy, fat, lazy, stupid, unproductive corporate class. Never have we as a nation spent so much on so few for so little return. If you want money go and earn it, I'm sick of handing it over to you in the form of a free ride on taxes. I don't want to spend it on welfare moms either, but in order to do that we need to fund work programs and the people who police the welfare rolls for cheaters, not screw over the entire program. Some people do honestly need assistance, but I'm pretty sure that the rich don't. They are doing amazingly well already.

    December 2, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  19. John

    You can Google and find out how to send an email to the speaker. I would include link but CNN won't allow.

    December 2, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  20. Jimmie Porter

    I will give the American people something to think about!!!!! I have heard that John Boehner. The head Republican is using fiscal cliff as leverage to get what he wants. I feel it should be what is BEST for the American people. If I told my boss I would not do my JOB till he gave me what I wanted I would be FIRED on the spot .So what do you think if he is not going to work for us the AMERICAN PEOPLE should he keep his JOB or be FIRED let him now how you feel !!!!!

    December 2, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  21. Bob

    The 'publicans, and those wealthy and/or stupid people who support them would destroy our nation in seeking to further their own interests and, in fact, having been doing so now for over 30 years. This trash needs to be permanently relegated to an appropriate trash bin. It's time for decent Americans to stand up for their country, and rid our political system of human garbage. The 'publicans have wasted enormous amounts of money and many human lives on idiot and hideously immoral wars, idiot unworkable missle defense systems, and outrageous handouts to political-sponsor corporations and individuals, government handouts to obscenely wealthy bankers and financial slime, and all at the expense of decent people who work hard to provide for themselves and their families. Time to wake up, Americans, and recognize this trash for what it is.

    December 2, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  22. Rob

    Obama is such a fool. He has never understood how our country works. Yes, he won the presidency(barely), but we also reelected a republican congress to keep his extreme ideas in check. Obama did NOT have a mandate. He must learn to compromise...something he never did do in the first 4 years.

    December 2, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  23. KSCitizen

    Bottom line: the Republicans honestly believed they were going to win the election. They planned to protect the wealthy and spread the tax burden on the rest of us. When President Obama was elected in 2008, they immediately pledged to make him fail, and they kept they kept that promise. Many of them put aside their oath of office and replaced it with a pledge to a nasty-tempered little billionaire. Unexpectedly (to them, apparently) they lost the election. So after 4 years of watching the Republican party blocking progress, the American people had to wait for the results of the election, then we had to wait for the Republicans to pull themselves together and now? They've recovered and are back to their usual game of stall and deflect.

    There are many voters who don't agree with everything President Obama might say, but on the issue of raising taxes on the wealthy, the majority is certainly in agreement; even the Republicans will admit that. Now: the first offer for cutting expenses is on the table. It's not enough for Speaker Boehner to continue this ridiculous complaining and posturing. If he has better numbers: Let's hear them! Let's see their proposals, let's review their ideas. Piling on the makeup and getting in front of the cameras every day just to get the next sound byte done in time for the 6PM news is not leadership.

    Speaker Boehner: Stop wasting our time trying to come up with a new way to say "flabbergasted" in front of a camera. We get it: Your're shocked. Do you have an actual proposal using numbers instead of words? We're guessing you don't but when you do – we'd love to hear it.

    December 2, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  24. IG

    To the many misinformed commenters on here:

    You will be surprised to hear the GOP have actually agreed to tax hike on wealthy in return for proposed cuts to entitlement and socialized programs. Tax hikes on rich will not close the deficit, not even a little. We still need to balance the budget. The problem with Obama's proposal is that it relies only on the tax hike and does not attempt to cut spending. That is what Boehner means by WH not being serious!
    In fact, it is Obama asking for his way or the highway. And why not – he has presided over the arguably most devastating economic crisis in america and he still won the re-election. The arrogance is certainly founded.
    Stop blaming the Congress and ask more of your president!!!

    December 2, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  25. PS

    Boehner, you are one of many reasons I stopped voting Republican 8 years ago. I'm tired of the posturing, the grandstanding, the I, I, I, me, me, me garbage you and your ilk pull when the rest of us, We the People, just want you to do your jobs. Sometimes that means you have to let go of what you want in favor of something you might not agree with but will still work. Believe it or not Democrats do know how to balance a budget – Bill Clinton and his crew not only knew how but they left the country with a surplus before Bush Jr. came in with his wrecking ball, declaring a war based on lies that not only cost us massive amounts of money but cost many families the lives of good soldiers who they could have used at home instead to love their spouses and raise their children.

    December 2, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
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