(CNN) - Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Wednesday the Obama White House is prepared for the tax increases and spending cuts ahead in the new year should the negotiations with congressional Republicans not move from the current stalemate.
"Oh, absolutely," he said in an interview with CNBC, when asked if the administration was prepared to go over the cliff.
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"We see there's no prospect to an agreement that doesn't involve those rates going up on the top 2% of the wealthiest" income earners, Geithner said.
Tax rates remain a major sticking point with less than a month to the so-called cliff. Republicans maintain substantial revenue increases can be obtained through reduction of loopholes and credits in the tax codes, while Democrats insist rates on income above $250,000 for a family increase.
In the interview, Geithner reiterated President Barack Obama's point that under his proposal, even earners who pass the threshold "get a tax cut under that framework on the first $250,000 of their income. So in some senses it’s a tax cut for all Americans."
At a post-election news conference, Obama told reporters, "Obviously, we can all imagine a scenario where we go off the fiscal cliff."
"If despite the election, if despite the dangers of going over the fiscal cliff and what that means for our economy, that there's too much stubbornness in Congress that we can't even agree on giving middle-class families a tax cut, then middle-class families are all going to end up having a big tax hike," he said.
He and Boehner spoke by phone Wednesday, although the conversation did not immediately produce any progress towards a deal, a source told CNN. The conversation was their first in a week.
Boehner said at a press conference after meeting with small business owners that his Monday offer to the White House was "reasonable" and "would avert the fiscal cliff with a balanced plan to raise revenues and most importantly to cut spending. It's up to the president to engage in this process, talk to us about where he'd like to go next."