December 2nd, 2012
11:25 AM ET
1 year 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. Liberatus

    President Obama won re-election campaigning on eliminating the tax cuts for the wealthy. On that basis alone, it should be done.

    On the other hand, the Democrats MUST compromise on spending cuts. They simply cannot have everything they want.....and the spending cuts are what they must give back to the Republicans in exchange.

    December 3, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  2. Larry L

    @Sniffit

    "If the Fiscal Cliff takes place, we should have a special election to replace the enire House and Senate."

    Sentiment like that is precisely why the GOP/Teatrolls will continue to delay delay delay. They have no real leverage or bargaining power in this fight this time...other than delay delay delay so that they make EVERYONE involved look bad. "If we're going down, we're taking you with us."
    ================================================================================================
    I believe recall elections are appropriate for those members of Congress who are unable to negotiate and compromise. If your only allegiance is to Grover Norquist and you repeatedly ignore the wishes of the American people you are only an obstacle to progress. Reluctance to approve the Bush tax rates for those making under $250k is a litmus test for me. Anybody blocking that initiative is simply holding the majority of Americans hostage and deserves to be recalled.

    December 3, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  3. Larry in Houston

    FDR gave us the "New Deal"... The GOP offers us the "Raw Deal"...

    December 3, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  4. Rich

    The entire problem with this entire debate is. There is absolutely ZERO reason to increase revenue. Obama plan to increase 1.6 trillion in tax revenue over 10 years. Do you honestly think we could not find 160 billion in waste per year in government?

    Raising revenue doesn't help at all. It makes it so government doesn't have to look and cut out as much waste. And taking more money out of the private sector, can only have negative impact on the economy.

    December 3, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  5. JJ

    GOP theatrics over debt and spending priorities are so selective and so predictable as to be amusing.

    December 3, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  6. DOG1

    To J-STL: Here's the difference
    Return the tax rate for people earning $250,000 and up = they may not be able to buy a new 7 series BMW for their 16 year old this year and he'll have to keep driving the one they bought him last year..........ooooooh how painful.
    Close the deductions and loopholes= same thing PLUS all of us who write off our mortgage interest , (probably you) medical expenses, (maybe you) and charitable deductions (probably not you) don't get to do that meaning many people who are just getting by will have to cut back on what they spend and maybe have to sell that home they're getting the deduction from.
    But heaven forbid that those 2% have to pay a little more taxes even though it won't really impact them that much, and when you hear foxnews and the like talking about how the over $250,000 folks are small businesses remember that the vast majority of them are not really businesses, they're lawyers and doctors and stockmarket investors who incorporate themselves for tax benefits and they NEVER HIRE ANYBODY. You might also recall that President Obama proposed a plan to give actual small businesses tax incentives and breaks and guess who shot that down REPUBLICANS!

    December 3, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  7. Liberatus

    Boehner needs to make a deal, and make it fast. His tan is fading, and if he doesn't fly off on a private jet to a private home on a Carribean island, his tan will fade and he might start to look like he actually works for a living!

    December 3, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  8. wolfpackbob

    Let Geithner and Obama takes us over the cliff. A fitting accomplishment to mark the past four years of the Obama Economy. Strategically we have to cut spending NOW. If this is the only way Democrats can be dragged kicking and screaming to CUT SPENDING,....... so be it. We will see whose constituents will be angrier. A crisis can be dangerous to all politicians. I'd rather we remain a free America in four years rather than become another socialist Greece, which conservatives can surely see is President Obama's strategic goal. Anything that stops that goal should be on the table if our country's welfare is the top priority.

    December 3, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  9. Virginia Voter

    Lead or get out of the way, Boehner!! Nancy Pelosi is going to introduce a Disclosure Petition tomorrow and you're going to see your power dwindle as Republican representatives who put country first sign and get the Senate bill out of committee and onto the House floor for a vote against your wishes. SHAME ON YOU FOR HOLDING TAX BREAKS HOSTAGE!!

    December 3, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  10. Data Driven

    When you spend your nights drunk and your mornings hungover, it's easy to be flabbergasted by life.

    Eh, John?

    December 3, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  11. Publius Novus

    The Orange Man is a really funny guy. Let's see, the Republicans lost the presidency in a not-very-close election, lost seats in the Senate, and lost seats and the popular vote in the House (where they retained the majority only by grotesque gerrymandering). Now the Speaker wants to nOgotiate, with the Republicans' opening bid based on the Ryan budget. And who is "flabbergasted?"

    December 3, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  12. allens

    poor Boehner has been rendered useless by his own party extremists. he cannot even deliver on his end of the bargain if it was reasonable. grow a spine and make a deal john, your country needs you more than your party does. be a patriot, not a politician.

    December 3, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  13. lkottis

    Obama did NOT win re-election BECAUSE people support his tax position. So stop making that ridiculous argument. But the House of Representatives (in which all revenue laws must originate) maintained a Republican majority because even though voters "liked" Obama, they wanted Congress to put the brakes on his lunatic ideas. The Republicans in the House have a mandate to solve fiscal, revenue raising problems their way. If Obama had a mandate for his policies, instead of his "likability", the House would have gone Democratic and you would have had Nancy Pelosi back in charge like the first 2 years of Obama's term.

    December 3, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  14. skarphace

    Rich: "The entire problem with this entire debate is. There is absolutely ZERO reason to increase revenue."

    Really? So if your family had a budget crisis and you were offered a raise, you would not take it? The equation is simple: revenues – expenses = net income. If you can't figure out from this equation that changing revenues affects net income, then you are quite a simpleton.

    December 3, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  15. laughingstock

    I'm constantly amazed at the GOP's sheer inability to grasp reality. Any regular person who has a massive amount of debt knows that he's not going to be able to pay it off just by not eating out as often or by not buying the next best PS3 game (spending cuts)....he's going to have to find a way to make more money, possibly by getting a better job, or a second job (revenue increase).

    Yes, the Democrats need to be willing to make some spending cuts where it matters, but the Republicans need to honestly accept revenue increases as well. The only things that Bonnie little Boner has said so far are that he's willing to look at closing tax loopholes and limiting deductions. That's the very same mantra that the majority of Americans rejected on Nov 6. Not only is the GOP not being honest about their negotiations, but they are -again- holding the middle class hostage as a bargaining chip, refusing to extend middle class tax cuts separately from the rest of the stuff.

    If the GOP ever wants to be in power, then they need to remember that they are supposed to serve the American people not some rich snobby lobbyist in DC (norquist).

    December 3, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  16. Alger Dave

    Boehner was right to be upset. Obama (via Giethner, who's lame duck himself and has nothing to lose) shows his contempt for getting a deal done by offering increased stimulus spending? And unspecified cuts (although Giethner said they were to Medicare) according to NBC who reviewed the proposal. The GOP is ready to increase taxes on the rich, so Obama needs to put out a substantial cut to government spending, and some restructure ideas for entitlements – so they can be solvent long term. Time to stop playing footsie and do your part of the job, Obama. Does the GOP have to do it all? Maybe that's what Obama wants – so he can take the political cover that would provide. No need for this anymore Obama – you're lame duck too! Just fix the mess!

    December 3, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  17. Patrick

    The American people aren't taking the Republican party seriously. Why should our president?

    December 3, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  18. Bryan

    Republican negotiations....do it our way or we will whine about it.

    December 3, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  19. joe dokes

    Boehner is "flabbergasted"? Translation: How dare these Democrats do something we don't approve of!

    Orange Man better realize he ain't getting his way on this. Endless polls show that the American people support the President's position, far more than actually approve of him. THAT says something loud and clear.... give in, Boehner.

    December 3, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  20. Patrick

    Mr. Boehner can't stand it when he has to taste his own medicine. Glad our president has grown a pair. I hope our president stands firm against any changes to social security or medicare except for negotiating for prices with drug companies the way Canada does and lifting the cap on income subject to FICA.

    December 3, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  21. Larry in Houston

    This is what "flabbergasts" me – The Obama regime is "Allowing" Cuts to Entitlements – WoW !! How's THAT for a Scare ? But the Most Troubling thing for me is this : The GOP doesn't EVEN WANT THAT !!

    I Swear – something must be wrong with Boehner – Is this man Even Sane ?

    I remember at one time when the Democrats Would Never (and I mean Never ) would go for cuts to entitlements – And the Bonehead and his followers wants to do What ?

    Sounds like they are turning Down EVERYTHING that is put on the Table !! LOL – Truely they are a bunch of Jokers !

    December 3, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  22. laughingstock

    Obama did NOT win re-election BECAUSE people support his tax position. So stop making that ridiculous argument. But the House of Representatives (in which all revenue laws must originate) maintained a Republican majority because even though voters "liked" Obama, they wanted Congress to put the brakes on his lunatic ideas.
    ==================================================

    Don't pull a Karl Rove and refuse to accept reality. Obama won in part BECAUSE of his stance on raising taxes on those making over $250k. Fact is, most Americans probably wouldn't be able to tell you that the House originates all revenue laws. They just look at the guys at the top (Presidency), and assume that they are getting the policies and positions of whichever one they picked.

    December 3, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  23. fxmck

    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.

    I was upset when Boehner said the Dems have proposed "...virtually nothing". Then I saw this, and I saw that he said it on Foxnews and I knew it was lie.

    December 3, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  24. Teddy

    Either way, even if the Republicans give in, this country is in for some serious financial trouble at the current rate of spending–worse with yet another stimulus bill.

    December 3, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  25. Patrick

    1,000,000 more Americans voted for Democratic House candidates than Republican. The reason for the GOP majority in the House is Red State gerrymandering. The American people did not vote for a GOP majority in the House. The GOP carved a majority out for itselv. America supports President Obama.

    December 3, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
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