(CNN) – As proposals and plans fly between Capitol Hill and the White House, House Speaker John Boehner says negotiators are working at an increased pace to avoid the year-end fiscal cliff after Friday's deadly massacre in Connecticut.
Asked Tuesday whether the school shooting – which left 26 people dead, including 20 children – had created a greater urgency in striking a deal to avoid tax hikes and spending cuts, Boehner said it had.
"I think both sides would agree to that," the speaker said. "This is a difficult time for Americans. That's why we continue to have conversations with the White House, and continue to hope that we have an agreement. It's not a time to put Americans through more stress."
Asked a similar question at Monday's White House press briefing, President Barack Obama's press secretary Jay Carney said the shooting reminded people "what matters most."
"And I think one of the reasons why it would be such a good thing if an agreement could be reached on these fiscal and budget issues, is that it would send a signal that Washington can function and that compromise can happen," Carney said, saying Americans were yearning for cooperation between Republicans and Democrats.
"I hope that whatever the issue is, that we can come together and respond to that call and that desire. I know that's how the president feels," Carney said.
Boehner and Carney's remarks come amid a flurry of action on fiscal cliff negotiations, though it remains unclear whether congressional Republicans and the White House are any closer to reaching a deal. President Barack Obama's latest offer, which came Monday, contained concessions on tax increases and spending cuts, according to a source familiar with the discussions.
Obama's latest proposal brought the two sides billions of dollars closer, but also generated protests from some in the Democratic base because it included some benefit cuts in entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Boehner on Tuesday proposed letting tax rates go up on income above $1 million as a short-term step to avoid some of the fiscal cliff while continuing to negotiate a broader deal with the president.
Democratic leaders immediately rejected Boehner's move, saying the focus of the incremental negotiations should be a comprehensive deficit reduction agreement.
CNN's Tom Cohen contributed to this report.
At this point, the fiscal cliff is small and petty.
We as a country have already fallen off the cliff of humanity.
John wasn't working as hard as he could before? Time to give back some of that inflated salary... Shouldn't be any objections since he is in the anti-government party.
They are separate issues and should be dealt with as such.
They should be able to work on legislation concerning both concerns during the same time period.
If we wait on gun control laws, it will bel left in the dust again as it already has been with past travesties of Murder.
Lockdown the gun shops, not the schools, until we get something done on this!
"It's not time to put Americans through more stress", interesting. Does that mean after things "cool off" Plan B is to put Americans through more stress, wrong. It's past time for Americans to stress the H out of this Congress by getting rid of them.
the president will do what he think is best for the country and not what the gop want.the gop want the economy to
fail because they do not want anything good to happen while obama is president.
It makes no sense for the Democratics to do a dumb deal before January 01,2013, and then have to go through another debt ceiling drama. Let the bush tax cuts expire on everyone, then do one deal. The tax cuts on the wealthy will be impossible to reinact.
Why are Sen. McCain and Sen. Graham dead silents on CT shooting. Four people die in Benghazi we couldn't shut these two up. Now we have 27 people killed and these two clowns are hiding. Let's see if McCain and Graham show up on the Sunday talk shows and talk about how information first reported is often wrong.
This is a physiological ploy to link to two issues together thus they have a way to Blame Obama when the deal falls....... No Mr. Boehner be a big boy work one issue then move on to Gun Control........... Man up...........
@ ban all assult guns... I totally agree with your comment. mccain and graham are to angry old men who need to retire. If these repubs dont get on board with the President I see a lot of them getting kicked out, which is what I really hope happens.
"Why are Sen. McCain and Sen. Graham dead silents on CT shooting. Four people die in Benghazi we couldn't shut these two up. Now we have 27 people killed and these two clowns are hiding. Let's see if McCain and Graham show up on the Sunday talk shows and talk about how information first reported is often wrong."
That is too funny! Where are all the hearings? Oh.....this one is hard to pin on Obama. Thought I'd bet Rush is waiting to pull the "obama set this up to put in more gun regulations" card again.