Obama, Boehner speak by telephone after GOP counter-offer
December 11th, 2012
05:33 PM ET
2 years ago

Obama, Boehner speak by telephone after GOP counter-offer

Washington (CNN) - House Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama spoke on the phone Tuesday evening after House Republican leaders sent a new offer on a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff on Tuesday.

"We sent the White House a counter-offer that would achieve tax and entitlement reform to solve our looming debt crisis and create more American jobs," Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker Boehner, told CNN.

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Steel confirmed the speaker and the president spoke on the phone but declined to give any further detail about the call or the new GOP proposal.

The latest Republican plan comes in response to a proposal that the administration sent to Boehner on Monday, a senior GOP aide told CNN, following Sunday's meeting between the speaker and the president–their first face-to-face meeting in over a year.

The offer that came Monday included a new revenue number of $1.4 trillion, down from the $1.6 trillion that the Obama administration originally proposed, according a Democratic source. The source also said the offer was paired with "a serious spending cut number with real entitlement reform."

But a House GOP aide told CNN of the White House’s offer that "$1.4 isn't really progress this late in the game.”

Steel echoed remarks that Boehner made on the House floor earlier Tuesday, saying Republicans await further specifics from the president on what kind of spending cuts he would include in a deal.

"As the Speaker said today, we're still waiting for the White House to identify what spending cuts the president is willing to make as part of the 'balanced approach' he promised the American people. The longer the White House slow-walks this process, the closer our economy gets to the fiscal cliff," Steel said.

The exchange of new proposals signals that despite public statements by Boehner and top Congressional Democrats that talks are stalled on the major issues of revenue and significant cuts to entitlement programs like Medicare, negotiations behind the scenes have picked up.

- CNN Congressional Correspondent Kate Bolduan contributed to this report.


Filed under: Congress • Fiscal Cliff • John Boehner • White House
soundoff (201 Responses)
  1. Kurt

    America needs to march on Washington D.C and personally deliver a message to the party that wants to protect 2 percent of the people and sacrifice the other 98 percent.

    December 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  2. Dan

    Voice4, most of have felt the pinch. Middle class America has been seeing wages decline compared to inflation.
    While the wealthy continue to receive golden parachutes for doing terrible jobs. It's time to restore Reagan's capital gains tax rate of 28 percent on the wealthy.

    If it was good enough for Reagan to raise capital gains from 15 to 28 percent on people like Romney, it should be good enough for every Republican in Congress to vote for it.

    December 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  3. zlulz

    Its amazing how bad liberals are with numbers and money. Lets look at Obama's plan. 160 billion in tax revenue each year and 40 billion in spending cuts. This amounts to 200 billion. Cool, we just cut the deficit from 1.1 trillion to 900 billion. Still a joke. Spending needs to be cut more along with these tax hikes.

    Here's where the liberal fuzzy math comes in. Obama just proposed a brand new 200 billion dollar spending package. One where a majority of the money goes to tax cuts, which then in turn under funds SS/Medicare, and unemployment. Both of which don't increase jobs and only further dig us into debt in the future. So, with this new spending plan, we've now cancelled out our previous deficit reduction entirely. We're back up to 1.1 trillion. Yet liberals see nothing wrong with this...

    December 11, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  4. Harvey

    I would be in favor of some form of compromise. The GOP agrees to defense cuts and the DEMs agree to cuts in social programs.

    Increasing taxes on the rich is largely symbolic. There are just not enough of them to make a whole lot of difference. If you taxed everyone who makes a million or more a year (i.e. take everything); it would only raise total revenue a couple of percent,

    The only real solution is make deep cuts in spending by cutting up Uncle Sam's credit card and/or by raising taxes.

    I wouldn't mind a flat tax where everyone pays, say 10%, on everything over the first 25K made. No deductions for anything. This would fair to all and still provide some relief for the poor. Right now I make about 60K a year. There are so many loopholes in the tax code that I take advantage of; I pay less than half that. If I am doing this at my income level; so are others. This is where the real revenue problem resides

    December 11, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  5. Concerned

    If Boehner isn't sweating now he should be. Obama has nothing to lose letting us go over the cliff. It will be Boehner and the republicans who let things go over. They will take the blame as middle income Americans get nervous and for taxes on the the rich that will take place if we go over the cliff. Its called a no-win situation. Boehner better cut a deal and put his tail between his legs or he won't have a job in 2014.

    December 12, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  6. Roy Wimberly

    Why do they just figure out what each part of the budget needs and give them and extra 5 percent and give the rest to the deficit and give a flat rate for the taxes for all Americans hey I figured this out with out running for office

    December 12, 2012 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  7. WatrGrrl

    A pity CNN doesn't report unbiased news – it's kinda resembling PRAVDA and TASS during the bad old days of the Soviet Union. But not to worry, Obama appears to have the earmarks of a developing dictator. His politics of "MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY, do not work in a democratic republic. But Obama doesn't understand this. Of course, neither do the people that were naive enough to re-elect him. He has no history of working for the good of the nation, only the experience of being a petulant man-child. Mark my words, this man has damaged our nation and will continue to do so, every day he remains in office. And he is a disgrace to the Office of The President.

    December 12, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  8. donnajoy

    John and the GOP are only interedted in cutting benefit programs and really not that concerned with deficits. They only play this game when there is a Democrat in the White House.

    December 12, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  9. Fortinbras

    Hey! Could it be that the republicans really are the party of the wealthy? Could it be? They, for the third time in recent memory, are in loggerheads with the democrats over these same issues. They want to protect the wealthy from higher tax rates and instead prefer to put the social safety net under a knife. And the whole argument of higher tax rates to the rich being a jobs killer goes out the window when considering that the political stalemates themselves have been jobs killers. Freezing the debt ceiling is a jobs killer. Going over the fiscal cliff is a jobs killer. THIS republican party doesnt protect jobs necessarily, they protect the wealthy. What more do they have to do to prove it?

    December 12, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  10. keyser

    Why don't they just tax the churches? By not taxing them we are subsidizing them because we have to pay what they are not paying. And yes, it's constitutional. But then again the politicians probably don't have the courage to stand up to the priests, shamans, and mullahs.

    December 12, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  11. news reader

    It would be best to let the year run out. then make the middle class tax cuts retroactive to jan 1. it wouldn't be a bad idea for some tax raise even on middle class. It's our country here, we all should help save it. We can then keep the safety nets in case our children and grandchildren need help. Those who would throw the future generations under the bus should have to say it on national news stations. This way they can't hide behind the group called Congress. Simply have them answer the questiion "Will you take Unemployment, S\S, Medicare, state taxes, House Interest and all deductions so you can keep all YOUR money and pay NO capital gains tax." All this on National News running for 1 week so no one in their State misses it. Somehow all those people making poverty level wages aren't connecting. When they do,they will vote their pocket book and cleen out the Congress. maybe these voters aren't as stupid as the Repubs think.

    December 12, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  12. Paul Williamson

    No, it is the rich man's debt, they have benefited from the US and its economy the last twenty years, gotten us into Gulf wars tp protect their oil, and become wealthy at the expense of the working man- let them pay for what they have reaped.

    December 12, 2012 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  13. LizardLance

    Let's put a cap on individual income so we don't have the enormous gap between high and low wage income earners. I'm sick of some stock investment broker or CEO or entertainer making 100 times more than teachers and plumbers and manufacturers and electricians, for example. Which actually creates value and which is really bringing nothing to the table?

    December 12, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  14. 2012liberal

    $1.6T to $1.4T is rich tax goes from clinton tax rate of 39.6% to 37% from current 35%. $ was 4B now 2B. Take from the poor and give 2 the rich. U all will answer 2 a higher power 4 yr ugliness and hatred. Ignorance is no excuse and the lord will not listen 2 such non sense. We will all be eachothers judge and will remember the trespasses done on one another. SHAME!

    December 12, 2012 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  15. pogojo

    Just watched that video (visualize the fiscal cliff) on CNN, that is exactly what we need, a percent out of every department, lets go over the cliff!

    December 12, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  16. SusanStoHelit

    Nah, the Republicans in office don't have the guts to put it into writing they want to gut medicare and SS – that's why they keep wanting Obama to specify cuts, because they're too cowardly to. Obama provides a solution with detailed tax increases, loopholes closed, and what he plans to cut – Republicans say, Ummm, uh, we'll close loopholes, and somehow magically that's a bazillion dollars, and yeah, we'll make unspecified cuts.

    They're cowards, asking Obama to give all the answers to them, because all they have is "No", and without something to say "No" to, they've got nothing.

    December 12, 2012 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  17. annieL

    Now is not the time and this is not the way to "reform" Medicare, SS or Medicaid, Mr. Boehner, so forget it. These three programs are too important to too many Americans to be played as chips in a poker game. I'm sure Mr. Boehner and his children and grandchildren will never have to give a passing thought to when they can begin to draw their SS benefits and start their Medicare coverage, how much of their SS checks will be deducted for their Medicare premium, what Medicare will and won't cover, and how they will pay for nursing home care when their life savings have been exhausted. To Mr. Boehner, SS, Medicare and Medicaid are just numbers to cut from a budget. To the majority of American workers and their loved ones, they are the essentials for life after a lifetime of work and child-rearing. No way should we allow Mr. Boehner to play his political game at our expense.

    December 12, 2012 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  18. jesse sanchez

    you can't bake an apple pie without apples! in a thousand years, they will never solve our troubled economy without including direct help and assistance to the homeowners who lost 50 billion or had it taken away from them thru fraud and deception. the banks and lenders have it in their vaults.they draw on it every time they want to improve a property value just before securitizing it or before claiming an insurance loss to collect a larger amount.At which point that EQUITYis rightfully the previous owner's share too. Mr. president, force the institutions to give it directly back to the legal owners and you will see such a boom in our economy coming from the housing market and allied industries that our economy could be back on track in a very very short time. DO IT MR. PRESIDENT.

    December 12, 2012 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  19. J.V.Hodgson

    Enough voice 4 yes its all our debt and please do not forget the increase of $10 tr to $16 trillion contains the annual cost of the bush tax reductions over 4 years a cost of $1.6 tr plus the costs of wars Afghan and Iraq another $1.4 tr. Then a recession already caused and underway when Bush got voted out and the horrendous costs of necessary unemployment benefits and poverty relief.
    You want European style austerity.... well that only really hurts the middle class and poor presumably ala Ryan budget defintely asking only the poor and middle class to pay and most economists said would lead to higher unemployment.
    For me the Rich have disproportionately benefittted over the past 12 years so tough you pay a big part of the needed money to recover.
    I am not megarich nor a democrat but this tax rate change will do zero to change my life style/ spending habits, which as a consumer I am part of that 70 % amount that drives GDP. QED happy along with Buffet and others to pay more.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    December 12, 2012 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  20. topspy

    Huh.Ask a fat man to drop 1000 calories a day from his diet and he won't like it. Ask the same from an undernourished man and it might kill him. A pinch doesn't hurt as much when you're fat! Money must circulate for governments to function – from the government and back. If it is stockpiled by a few, the government must borrow or print more. Time to bring tax rates on the rich back in line.

    December 12, 2012 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  21. Voice5

    The revenue needs to come back via loophole closure and taxes back to were they were pre Bush era with a temp extension on those making less than 250,000 and entitlement reform needs to be proposed that welfare and foodstamp programs seek a new path a strick limitations on those who can recieve them and why they receive hem.

    December 12, 2012 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  22. True_patriot

    To tell you all the truth. The united states government creates the debt not me or my family or your family. The puppet president and his paid off peseants are planing to build a NEW WORLD ORDER, centrilization of government, one world monetary policy- central banks. We are a fading trend that everyone is going along with cause they think its cool for now. Trendy im so trendy im to sexy for my trendy!

    December 12, 2012 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  23. DeepeThought

    Where are the real budget cuts? The White House calls not increasing spending as fast as they could have their 'budget cuts'.
    That is like going to the store and 'saving' $100 because you only spent $200 but could have spent $300.

    December 12, 2012 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  24. Name. voiceofreason

    News flash the democrats ate rich too. This is just children fighting over a cookie, embarassing at best. They should both should be sent home if they cannot do this and find others that will.

    December 12, 2012 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  25. DCAL

    Quit riding the party lines. Republicans are not naming loopholes that they want to close, but the White House is not naming spending cuts either. The fact is they are both full of crap and at the end of the day the lower and middle class will be only ones to suffer. The rich will be fine no matter what...raising the taxes will not do much good when they continue to use loopholes to pay lower taxes...Romneys 14% tax return is proof of that.

    December 12, 2012 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
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