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. Boehner is a complete bonehead. A total disgrace to Congess

    Boehner is a complete bonehead. A total disgrace to Congess

    December 2, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    @sbssue1: Did you know that 6 of the top 400 wealthiest Americans (according to Forbes) paid NO income taxes?

    That's right; and did you also know that the top 400 wage earners in the U.S. have seen their aggregate wealth quintuple over the last 20 years (from $300 billion to $1.5 trillion?

    During that same period, workers productivity has doubled, but their income has remained stagnant.

    In 2009 (the most recent year for which there is data), 25% of those top 400 earners paid less than 15% in taxes (the payroll tax during that same time was 15.3%).

    BTW, my family and I are better off than under Bush, when our retirement savings lost 40% of their value. That has been regained, thanks to the market's confidence in President Obama's policies.

    December 2, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  3. Josh

    Until Uncle Sam decides to cut spending increasing or decreasing taxes wont make any difference at all....

    December 2, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  4. JC

    Jump.
    When the tax cuts expire and spending cuts start, we'll see a motivated Congress.

    December 2, 2012 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  5. SafeJourney

    javabanana, You lost. And you are repeating the same things that the majority of Americans rejected. Get ready to lose more elections

    December 2, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  6. TEVK

    Congress and Mr. President, You need to do what you are paid to do: run the country! Get on with it! Raise the taxes, cut the spending and quit the fooling around. You are running us into the ground.

    December 2, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  7. IvotedforObama

    Hopefully in 2014 the American people will throw the GOP out.

    December 2, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  8. Rob

    More appropriate Headline – Boehner is flabby and gassy.

    December 2, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  9. Mia

    I wonder if Boehner has short man syndrome? Gosh, why can't he just pull his 'gang' together and work with the Dems? He's getting old really, really quickly this term already.

    December 2, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  10. Olaf Big

    Republicans must very quickly reinvent themselves. They, not Obama, will get the blame if the sequestration goes into effect. There will be very little sympathy for the party that was asked to accept higher taxes for the rich for the sake of financial stability and refused. Americans don't like high taxes, but they like the idea of becoming another Greece even less.

    December 2, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  11. Saboth

    Negotiations with the party of "No" aren't going well? I'm shocked!

    December 2, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  12. Olaf Big

    Mr. Boehner, you got it right! Roll over and sign off on the deal, or you are history come 2014.

    December 2, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  13. bergus

    let's take this cliff 'Thelma and Louise' style! it was put in place for a reason.

    December 2, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  14. Either way

    Why are Americans so gullible? Everyone in the know is aware that Obama's plan is to destroy the economy to show that capitalism has failed and to make way for a new kind of government–Communism. Whether the US goes off the fiscal cliff or whether the US accepts policies that further devastate the economy, Obama wins and the cogs of his plans move us closer to his objective.

    December 2, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  15. James Klimaski

    Boehner doesn't have to worry. Chevron gave him $2.5M just before the election through his private PAC. What the hell does he care about going over the cliff. He won't have to jump.

    December 2, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  16. Marc in Texas

    Wait just a minute. Let's dumb-down the argument for Boehner and his supporters: what he is saying is that we have a lot of debt, but he is unwilling to a) pay for the debt we incurred already (the debt ceiling), and b) increase revenues. Now to an accountant, an economist, anyone who has bothere dto spend 5 minutes looking at the Federal budget, and anmyone else with half a brain, the Republican "proposal" is nothing more than a big, steaming pile of partisanship. Boehner isfully incompetent – he's REALLy good at playing the whiny crybaby, but he can't l;ead even his own party. 10 Republicans wou;ld he all that is required for a deal. And he already has people in the ranks speaking out. Can Boehner deliver 10 votes for the good of the nation? The GOP faiiled to win the Presidency, even though they have been spreading lies and doing everything they can to prevent the economy from improving for 4 years. I demand teh Speaker's resignation – he is not fit to serve this great nation.

    December 2, 2012 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  17. Olaf Big

    @Dean, I agree uneducated electorate is our biggest problem. Otherwise people like Aitken, Murdoch, Palin, Bachmann will never even come close to running for a national office. And 53% that voted for Obama? Well, they voted for taking a tiny little timid step from primitive capitalism of the 19th century towards a modern society that has a chance to make it into the next century.

    December 2, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  18. horseman14

    The president has led, are you going to follow Mr. hot air speaker?

    December 2, 2012 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  19. Lucambrian

    I'm really tired of hearing that "Republicans are only for the rich," and, "Let the rich pay their fair share!" Nobody bothers to note the facts as stated in the most recent report by the Congressional Budget Office, and I quote:

    "On just federal-level taxes, the top 1 percent of income earners already have an effective tax rate of 29 percent. President Obama has achieved his goal of increasing redistribution: The top 20 percent has seen its after-tax share of total income fall, especially the top 1 percent, while the lower income groups have seen their share rise.

    The top 1 percent pays well over its “fair share”—it pays a much larger share of taxes (22.3 percent) than the share of income it earns (13.3 percent)—as does the full top 20 percent. Meanwhile, the bottom income groups pay a much smaller share of taxes than their share of income: The bottom 40 percent earned 14.9 percent of income but paid just 4.1 percent of federal taxes."

    I am nowhere near being rich myself, but if Obama has his way, a great many small businesses in this country will be laying off employees and even shutting their doors to pay for his tax increases. People tend to forget that $250,000 is not a lot of money when you're running a small family business. In my opinion, Obama is asking for the sky so that when the Republicans refuse to go along, he can let the nation go over the fiscal cliff with his finger pointed at the minority party. The fact is, Obama has never been serious about cutting federal spending (unless it's the military, of course—his favorite whipping boy), and he's not serious now. He's given lots of money to "green enterprises" (like Solyndra) that then go bankrupt, leaving the taxpayer on the hook. Now he wants to give away billions more in "economic stimulus" programs which will also fail to revive the economy and will further increase our debt. For this nation to thrive, we need lower taxes and lower spending.

    December 2, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  20. CBR

    Speaker Bohner and everyone else who is whining and complaining are trying to build political capital with the TEA Party and Grover Norquist. Instead of all this talking and meeting with the media they need to be a the bargaining table working our a solution. Mr. Boehner and the other leaders of the GOP always had a line in the sand.and they still have it. DO NOT DO ANYTHING WHICH WILL BRING PRAISE TO PRESIDENT OBAMA. In the case of Sen. McConnell, he said he would not do anything to help President Obama to get re-elected. He just sat on his hands for four years.

    We are paying Congress to represent us. If they cannot come up with a plan which is satisfactory to both sides then they should go back home and let someone else do the people's work. They are adding to the budget deficit by sitting in their offices and refusing to work together. We are paying for all their office space, their staffs, their health insurance, their pensions, their trips home, etc. Just go home and save us all a lot of money.

    December 2, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  21. cbrskeletor

    Lets go off the cliff which is what we should have done all along. More and more government and added stimulus (borrowed money) has shown in the past four years it gets us nowhere but further in debt. Everyone seems so focused on being jealous of the rich not taking into consideration this is the least of our problems as cuts have to be made. A budget needs to be made why is this so difficult.

    December 2, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  22. Medicine Man

    The GOP insist on playing chicken with their political future, as well as the country's financial problems. The majority of the people want taxes on the extremely well-off to rise, not necessarily to their highest historical level, but certainly back to a level at which the revenue/expenditure balance is fair – which does not mean EQUAL. What's fair and what's equal are two different things.

    Boehner and crew had better get with the program – and fast.

    December 2, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  23. Jack

    Flabbergasted is what I would say of you, Mr. Boehner, the President won the election, pass the bill that the Senate passed months ago.

    This conservative doesn't understand, when you lose an election; you be gracious and finished passing the bill that you blocked months ago. You don't start renegotiating. That is what has destroyed the conservative time and time again since the 50's. I have seen again and again! I am 65 years old and voted conservative since I was 18.

    But this group of the conservatives lead by Limbaugh and Hannity are not worth following!

    So, Mr. Boehner, do the honorable thing, sign the bill!

    December 2, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  24. stan johnson

    The GOP stance is that taxing those making over $250,000 will cause people to lose jobs. If this premise is correct, then why under Bush did we have over 10% unemployment and a recession that was the biggest financial crisis since the 1930's depression? So to the members of the GOP, when you take such a stance, please back up what you claim with real evidence. The evidence is against you. And you will take us over the cliff for a lack of evidence? Please. . . do you really want to do that?

    December 2, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  25. redwine9991

    I am getting my parachute ready because I have no doubt we are going over the fiscal cliff, thanks to the republicans.

    December 2, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
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