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. C

    ending the Bush era tax-cuts is not a tax hike!. These were never meant to be permanent in the first place. Lets fall off the cliff, let the republican party die as a result of it so the country can be better off and get things done.

    December 3, 2012 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  2. Awetmedic

    The worst case scenario, where no agreement is reached and all the tax cuts expire due to more GOP obstruction, is actually a good thing. We will finally get rid of some of the special perks for the rich. Obama will then put in a tax reduction package for the 98%. If the GOP once again obstruct, as we all know they will, they will be insignificant as a political party and 2014 in the house will look like 2008 in the house except even more GOP will be booted.

    December 3, 2012 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  3. Chuk

    Boehner is the small fish. He has no backbone except of those from the extreme right wing of his party. I want the president to take down the BIG fish! Who's the big fish? Grover Norquist, that's who. He is the big fish because this is a guy who is unelected, therefore has no responsibility to anyone except those who secretly give him money which he does not have to disclose. Taking that SOB down means that his clandestine operation goes down with him.
    If the President doesn't break Grover's back now, he'd never get another chance. And if that means risking the fiscal cliff for a little while, so be it! We all know who'd be blamed for that anyway.

    December 3, 2012 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  4. GloSeattle

    We're flabbergasted at the Republican Party! Let's do it all, let's reform the tax code, get rid of the tax breaks for the wealthy, increase their taxes, and cut spending too! (When we paid off our credit cards, we increased what we were spending to pay them off and paid more, and cut our expenses by reducing not only our debt but eliminating a lot of things in our budget. It's a no brainer Boehner!) Oh... that's why they don't get it!

    December 3, 2012 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  5. Norman G. Kirkendall

    Rep Boehner: Don't you think it's about time you stop being flabbergasted and do you job for the American people. Are you so scarred of the no increase in taxes dictator and his threat of your not getting re-elected that you are willing to throw the people you represent under the bus? If so, you don't belong in office anyway.

    December 3, 2012 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  6. PlanZfromUSA

    I agree with many of the posters. Let the tax cuts expire. I'm already a pauper – they can't get blood from a stone. A little more from me, a lot more from the 1%. Let them expire and this child/man Boehner can go down in U.S. history as the man that sunk the nation.
    I thought they were supposed to follow the will of the people. Can't the Speaker of the House be impeached? Or recalled? He's like a spoiled child.

    December 3, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  7. jposto

    No...we are flabbergasted at the House GOP not getting the message. You are not beholden to the tea party only. You are beholden to all of the voters in the district that you represent. Go negotiate like grown ups.

    December 3, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  8. Matt

    I think the fiscal cliff should have included a termination for the leaders of the Congress and a prohibition on their running for election again. We need some new blood because the stubbornness is ridiculous. If Boehner keeps going down this road, 2014 will be a democratic landslide in the house just because people are tired of this gridlock

    December 3, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  9. Fred Evil

    "We've put a serious offer on the table "
    No, you've proposed Romney's EXACT PLAN, keep taxes where they are, and close loopholes (but you haven't specified WHICH Loopholes, and how much they will be closed!)

    December 3, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  10. duane

    Have any of you pro Obama people done the math on how much revenue would be raised by the 2% tax on the wealthy? This is only a popular talking point with the president. It would only be good for about 8 days of running the government. That's w/o calculating the reduced investments by those people. dwolf has the right idea. All we are hearing is how the other side is stonewalling. Let's hear the facts. Geitner has presented a plan and Boehner has but we the voters don't have an idea what it's about.
    Finally, how could we elect an unqualified president 4 years ago and a non-performing one this year? He is a great orator.Reminds me of a high school teacher who was a mideast expert. He said that the Arab world respects a good orator regardless of whether or not he speaks the truth.

    December 3, 2012 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  11. John

    This is just political posturing and I'm sure it is mainly done for the media, it wouldn't surprise me if the Republicans/Democrats have some kind of backdoor deal ready to role out at the 11th hour. That way both sides can say to their block of voters that they did their best and this was the best they can do. I think this is specially true with the Republicans, since they are in the minority (other than the House).

    December 3, 2012 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  12. pjoe

    Obama said the fiscal cliff would not happen in the debates. The fiscal cliff is LAW, not a bill. It is called "sequestration", and will only be avoided if a compromise is reached by Jan 2, 2013. Here's Obama's quote when pressed by Romney on spending cuts that Romney said Obama would put on the military:

    "First of all, the sequester is not something I proposed, it's something that Congress proposed. It will not happen. The budget that we're talking about is not reducing our military spending. It's maintaining it."
    – Obama in final debate Oct 23, 2012

    December 3, 2012 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  13. Bob Havecker

    It is time for us all to work vigorously to get rid of Boehner once and for all. He is clearly an obstruction to any and all progress in this country.

    December 3, 2012 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  14. Kenny K

    @CPA in DC

    hey riddle me this? whats 2% of 6 billion dollars. answer = 120 billion. now i know dems dont do math. but thats the INTEREST thats going to be paid every year forever JUST
    Your comment doesn't seems like you are a knowledgeable CPA.

    Review the comparative income and expenses of the nation of several years .

    December 3, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  15. Stephen Daugherty

    What really flabbergasts John Boehner, unfortunately, is that his own ridiculous hostage taking behavior can be turned against him, or that the President might take such a forceful victory and do something with it, rather than play the sacrificial lamb and concede anything and everything that Democrats might ever want to do.

    Republicans have been stupid enough to put themselves in this position. They used the Debt Ceiling to force negotiations. Well, now, the fiscal cliff is the consequence of that, and it could have been even worse if the Tea Party folks had all the power.

    What really flabbergasts Boehner, though it shouldn't if he'd been paying attention, is that Democrats are sick and tired of cooperating in the dismantling of the federal government, as forced by a bunch of hypocrites who claim the crown of fiscal responsibility while they cause most of the big jumps in deficit spending and revenue reduction. They are no longer the party in decline, and they'll be damned if they're going to let Boehner extort what his election numbers don't give him the power to do on his own.

    December 3, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  16. Disgusted

    I'm not surprised. Obama lied! What did you expect? He had no intentions of making any concessions. He wants to ruin the country. Let him go. When the businesses shutter their doors, and the White House can't afford the unemployment payments, we all know who to blame. When the military can't defend our country, no big deal! The subversives can take over the country. Remember 9/11? Wait for the 2nd act. Obama is doing exactly what he wants to do – turn the US Communist. He already has changed us to a Socialist country. He was the Communist party candidate, remember?

    December 3, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  17. JD

    Come 2014 Boehner will be no where. The 47% is going to ensure we have a democratic congress again so we can finally get something done after sitting around trying to baby sit the GOP and their prejudice views for the last 4 years. We may end up paying more taxes and again sliding back down in the hole because of republicans, but it will be the last time in history we have to put up with them. Reagan, Bush, Bush wanna be, all had the same thing in common, trickle down didn't work!

    December 3, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  18. Anonymous

    I wish one day there would be a party that is actually for people in the center that just don't go along with what the the 2 extremist parties of today says. Never has there been so much tension between political parties since the civil war. Both parties are destroying this country not just one. It's a shame that the American public buys into the BS that either party throws at them. At the end the day, both parties only care about special interests, power, and what gets them voted into office. It's a shame that each party's base is so far to the right or left that we'll continue to elect folks that are not more in line with the general public and keep the status quo of if the other party thinks of it then we must disagree. I heard time and time again this past election that folks were put their vote to who they thought was the lesser of the two evils. That's what these 2 parties have become;sending us candidates to vote on that many of us do not particularly care for. What a bunch of crooks we have running this country!!

    December 3, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  19. jillamerican

    Yeah, and he was 'flabbergasted' by the election too.

    December 3, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  20. Just a Guy

    So this is where we are: The Dems want tax increases (which no one loves but most thinking people realize are necessary) and have laid out exactly what increases they want. The GOP wants spending cuts (which no one loves but most thinking people realize are necessary) but won't say which ones. Instead they want the White House to identify the cuts that the GOP wants. Get that? The GOP wants the Dems to specify the GOP spending cuts! Why? So that the GOP can then turn around and say that it was the Dems that cut Medicare and Medicaid and any other cuts that are made. The GOP is exposing themselves for the weasels that they are! And they have the cojones to call themselves patriots!

    December 3, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  21. snowdogg

    Thelma & Louise anyone?

    December 3, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  22. SB1790

    Boehner needs to go. He's the fly in the ointment. However, the others do NOT have to obey his commands. I would do a national poll and get the mood of the nation, input from some objective economists and take the lead from those results. I think the American people like a sense of justice even at a personal sacrifice and the tax is a sense of justice. I know plenty of people and have heard lots of comments about let's just plunge over the cliff. Screw it. It will at least show how inept and petty the political system is.

    December 3, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  23. learntoread

    I am fortunate enough to make over 250k a year and I have no problem with letting the bush tax cuts sunset on me and my family ( I have 3 brothers who also make well over 250k a year). We have been very fortunate. We have worked hard certainly and we have been lucky at times. Two of the four served honorbly in the US military ( as did my father) and we consider ourselves VERY patriotic our family came to America in 1629). Why are we arguing about raising rates on the top two percent? None of my successful friends( some very rich) are concerned at all about a couple percent...the irony is that the right wing media has gotten the masses worked up to think that THEY are going to have their taxes raised as well–it ain't so's just guys like me.. and many of us are okay paying a bit more to get the country back on the right track...why? because we are Americans and we believe in the nation-and our nation needs our help right now...hey, maybe i give up a new car this year, big deal...

    December 3, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  24. Anonymous

    Why does no one mention the COST OF WAR? WE SPEND ABOUT $4 BILLION PER DAY on these "projects". The USA should stop selling weapons to foreign countries, bring all the troops home and take care of our own business.

    December 3, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  25. The Independent

    Lets start the cuts in the federal budget with a 30 percent cut in pay for Congress and the Senate to start with. Next NO retirement packages for them unless they have worked for the federal government for 40 years just like other government employees have to. Also reduce or stop payments to any former members that did not meet the 40 year requirement. If it is a reduction in benefits it is based on years served. Example the served 4 years their benefits would be only 10 percent of what the receive now.
    Sound off here if you think this is a good place to start with waking up those in the Congress and the Senate that stand in the way of getting things in order with the federal budget. NOTE: The GOP members with their pig noses (look at Boehner face in the picture above) in the corporate feeding trough they love.

    December 3, 2012 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
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