December 2nd, 2012
11:25 AM ET
8 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. Michelle

    If you can't come to an agreement, the people will make it for you by voting your party out of the house again Mr.Boehner in 2014. Quit being an idiot.

    December 2, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. Invisigoth

    Dear Henry Miller – what planet are you from? 12 years of tax breaks for job creators. Where are the jobs? Only 2% of the top earners in this country made their own way – the rest INHERITED their fortunes. They didn't build that. Their ancestors did. They merely played the money game, derivatives, gray area accounting games and offshoring to maintain their fortunes. The ones who did make it on their own like Buffet and Gates are the ones on the side of the working class because they truly know what it means to make it in this country. They believe the tax rate is too low and are working with the people to see that the top 2% stop getting entitlements because if you don't pay into it, it is an entitlement. Social Security, Medicare and Unemployment insurance are NOT entitlements because we pay into them. Tax cuts and subsidies ARE entitlements because the rich get them from the sweat of the remaining middle class and do nothing to earn them.

    December 2, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  3. clarke

    Why is he so flabbergasted, he acts like it's the first he even heard of the debt and what the President was going to do. Where has he been?, tanning!

    December 2, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  4. darko2k

    Obama and dems WANT to go over the cliff. Why you ask? Higher tax rates, broad cuts to the military and a media that will help pin it on the GOP. Afterwards he can push to cut taxes for the middle so he can claim to be a tax cutter despite the taxes that come with Obamacare and many others such as the Estate and Cap gains taxes.

    Raising rates on the Top earners will not increase tax revenue but it will increase unemployment. There is no reward to justify the risk. This is governing by ideology and it's stupid. The cost will be pushed on to the middle class consumer and we won't benefit.

    December 2, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  5. Economist

    I am amazed at how easily educated Americans are drawn into a Democrat-Republican slapfest, and distracted from what this is really all about: Not all of the "rich guys" are bilking the system. Most need that money to keep businesses growing and jobs safe. Tax records show that a business owner makes over $250K per year because business profits are reflected on his personal income tax return. In most cases, this money is kept in the business for everything from supporting growth to surviving downturns and slow business periods. This money keeps people employed. The current method of taxing the business owner is bad for job growth, and does nothing to "teach the bad seeds a lesson". In the end, it only causes more businesses to go under and more jobs to be lost. If the Administration (regardless of political party) were truly serious about economic recovery and job creation, they would be pursuing a means to increase tax recovery of funds actually paid to the "rich guy". The current game about using the fears and lusts of the average citizen to manipulate more control over them has to stop. The government cannot afford to support those already on welfare, yet it is bent on putting as many of its citizens on it as possible. The American Royalty (Government) has us under their foot and they want to keep it that way. All we have to do to stop it and return to the "good times" is refuse to play their game anymore.

    December 2, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  6. sportsjunkie29

    Here is where the Republicans lose me, they say they're against raising taxes a few percentage points on the top 2% as Obama's proposal calls for. However, by not coming to agreements taxes will rise dramatically on EVERYONE. This just reinforces they're priorities are to protect the wealthy over the interest of the majority of folks and that they're pledge to "not raise taxes" really mean "not raise taxes on the weathly".

    December 2, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. Justme

    What a bunch of greedy selfish people commenting on here...all after somebody else's money. Sheesh. The only people paying their fair share are the rich. Everyone else has their hands out.

    December 2, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  8. clarke

    If the GOP were at all smart, the speaker should be replaced. I don't find him to be very bright of a man, he just doesn't seem well read. IMHO

    December 2, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  9. jpeagle21

    These comments prove how clueless people are about what's going on. Obama has not compromised on anything. In fact, he is now asking for more in taxes from the rich than he was before the election, increased how much stimulus money he wants by hundreds of billions, and reduced the amount he is willing to cut in entitlements. He has done the complete opposite of compromise.

    December 2, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. Tony in Maine

    up is down, black is white, sweet is sour, more is less

    republican newspeak.

    December 2, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  11. Cowabunga

    Obama's people have finally figured out that negotiating with themselves is not useful. So c'mon, Republicans – what's YOUR proposal? Want to cut spending? On what, and by how much?

    December 2, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  12. DC Observer

    This is NOTG a fiscal cliff. IT simply reflects what Obana and the Dems have already agred to - The Bush tax cuts were temporary; they should expire; the spending cuts were negotiated and agreed to by Obama; and the payroll tax holiday was bad policy to begin with and therefore should expire so we start funding social security again.

    Time to just adjourn the COngress and send them hime John - and Let Obama, Reid, and his socialists stew over the holidays

    December 2, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  13. ObaWendon

    It is such a shame that he does not "Get It!". He and his party LOST. We voted OUT a couple more Republican seats in the House AND the Senate. Americans are sick to death of the Tea Party GOP, Grover Norquist, and John Boehner. Boehner seems to have zero control of his house. What a great leader eh? He will certainly have his place in history as the Speaker of the House who allowed the USA to go under because he couldn't lead and get his members to comprimise, even a little! He is pathetic, I can't wait for 2014. Bye Bye GOP/Tea

    December 2, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  14. David

    Obama's plan again cuts the deficit far more than anything the repubs have proposed, also, the public would clearly choose a tax increase on earnings over $250K then an increase in the retirement age to 67 which is the latest repub proposal. Obama won both in 08 as well as in 12 with the plan of going back to Clintons tax levels – I am sure the dems will be happy to once again win with this message in 16.

    December 2, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  15. Independent jim

    its unbelieveable the GOP wants the middle class .. seniors .. veterans and the unemployed to pay more in their taxes by eliminateing things like interest and child care deductions ... but the top 2% should get lower taxes on capitol gains and incomes

    December 2, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  16. Kent Atwood

    Boehner has a point. The republicans hold a majority in the house and have the option of being unreasonable obstructionists. Now all we have to do is fix that in 2014 and it won't be a problem anymore.

    December 2, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  17. longtooth

    Boehner is still pretending the Emperor has clothes, when everyone can see the right wing is naked and looking stupid. This political posturing is getting embarrassing. The election proves that the majority can't be fooled all of the time.

    December 2, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  18. Becca

    I think both sides are wrong. Raising taxes on people who make $250,000.00 per year is basically raising taxes on small businesses. They cannot afford it. They will just lay people off. Taxes should be raised on those earning $800,000.00 a year and above. They have more income to keep their businesses going. People with assets of one million and above should have their taxes raised.

    December 2, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |

    There seems to be a real misunderstanding on the part of most Democrats on what the real issue is. They seem to think the biggest issue is whether or not to raise tax revenue on the rich through a tax rate increase. It is not, it is the spending. Republicans have already said they will raise taxes on the rich by capping their deductions, gets to the same amount, around 800 billion. Obama claims is will not, that is a lie. But Republicans may wind up giving in on the tax rate increase, don't know. But what Republicans will not give up on is the spending cuts and entitlement reform. Based on what Boehner said today I believe he will hold the middle class tax cuts hostage over spending cuts and entitlement reform. Even if Republicans were to give into the tax rate increase, they will not give into spending cuts and entitlement reform that is real and not a promise of some sort of future deal. If Obama will not include real spending cuts and entitlement reform in a deal before the cliff then Republicans will hold any possible new tax cuts hostage after we go over the cliff until Obama agrees. You see Democrats, the real issue is not the tax increase on the rich, it is the governments out of control spending. Not fixing that will cause far worse damage than going over the so called cliff.

    December 2, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  20. MJ

    Gee, I use to think that Boehner just needed a heart. It appears now that he needs a brain and some courage,too.

    December 2, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  21. Brian

    I am so sick of the Republican House of Representatives protection of those who suffered little over their policies while the lower and middle class where trampled. The Bush tax policies helped create the debt, well Boehner – time to pay. Welcome to the real world. Now get to work and quit stealing time on our dime.

    December 2, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  22. Flmay Sr

    Just looking at Boehner you can the contempt in his face. He would not compromise on any type of deal that is offered. I have never met an obstructionist but Jonn Boehner is a perfect example of one. He does not like Obama and will do every thing in his power to block Obama's plan..

    December 2, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  23. mccainin4

    Mr Boehner – we elected a President, not a King nor your wet nurse. The Constitution says your job is to write the budget bills. Stop the pitiful histrionics and propose ON PAPER something all Americans can study and debate!

    December 2, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  24. Nancy Merriman

    Grover needs to get over himself. Boehner needs to form a bi-partisan committee in the house to clearly define to the American people exactly what we are getting. Then carefully explain to the public exactly what is going on. First of all, extend the tax break for 6 months while explaining to the public, the present 2% decrease is not revenue, but
    actually a decrease in the federal tax for our future social security and medicare benefits. Let's stop all the fiscal cliff panic for the moment.
    On January 1, the committee has a couple of months to devise a workable plan and present it our elected officials to debate and refine. By then the public should be educated that the 2% in their pockets are going to disappear and that will effect the economy. Employers need to be encouraged to give livable wages and decent raises.

    The tax code needs to be simplified, so the lobbyists have no need to keep circling Congress like buzzards. Close loop holes, show middle class they only save a couple of 100 dollars with home owner deduction,but the person making over $250,000 save $5000 or more on that loophole. With closed loopholes for all, some consideration for working poor, flat taxes on the rest of us, the math should work. Republicans are all for closing loop holes, how much revenue will that generate. Or even a national sales tax. Every American should know just how much of the burden they should burden and expect tax burden be distributed prorated on income/earnings. With $16,000 a year in social security one would think I wouldn't have to pay taxes, but if I make a withdrawal from my 401/IRA; it is taxable. If I am forced by very expensive medications to sell stock, then I have to plan on capital gains. I am paying taxes annually.

    SOMEONE, how about CNN needs to put a pencil to this. Someone without special interest who can do simple math and can access the tax laws and knows how all successful legislation is done behind closed doors. Personal fear of not getting re-elected, the Grover Norquists, and far right voters has put the rest of us at risk. The Congress needs to do what is right for all of us, including the Democrats. I am retired, disable and elderly and constantly wonder why all these people are willing to put themselves and having their way in front of what is best for America. Greed is such an ugly word.

    December 2, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  25. firstpoppa

    Evidently The Obamassiah has forgotten that the people also re-elected Republicans to a majority in the House. The same folks who kicked Pelosi, THE BIG SPENDER, out of the House leadership.

    Barry is all about "compromise". As long as someone else is doing the compromising. And "future" cuts means nothing in exchange for raising tax rates NOW.

    December 2, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
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