The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

December 10, 2012

Obama, Boehner discuss ‘fiscal cliff’ stalemate

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met at the White House to discuss the “fiscal cliff,” while rank-and-file Republicans stepped forward with what they called pragmatic ideas to break the stalemate.

The Obama-Boehner meeting Sunday was the first between just the two leaders since Election Day. They agreed not to release details of their weekend conversation, but aides emphasized that the lines of communication remain open.

Seeking to rally popular support for his position, Obama was heading to Michigan today to speak to auto workers at a plant outside Detroit. It’s the latest in a string of campaign-style appearances Obama has held in recent weeks echoing a theme he stressed repeatedly during the election campaign: that the richest Americans should pay more to help reduce the deficit.

The president’s message in Michigan will be that the economy is rebounding and Congress should not risk that progress to save tax cuts for the rich. The president will use the Daimler Detroit Diesel plant where he’ll speak to illustrate his point, noting that the company plans to spend an additional $100 million to boost production in the U.S.

Jeff Immelt, GE’s chief executive and head of a presidential advisory council on competitiveness, said a deal needs to be hammered out now and increased revenue is going to have to be part of the deal.

“The millions of people that work for us, their lives are in flux. And this is incredibly critical we get this done now,” Immelt said in remarks aired today on “CBS This Morning.”

He added: “Everyone knows we need revenue,” because spending cuts alone won’t solve the problem.

Republicans in Congress and Obama have been at loggerheads over how much revenue, or tax increases, should be included in a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.

GOP mavericks are putting increased pressure on their party’s leaders to rethink how they approach negotiations with Obama in the wake of a bruising national election that left Democrats in charge of the White House and Senate.

“There is a growing group of folks looking at this and realizing that we don’t have a lot of cards as it relates to the tax issue before year end,” Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., told “Fox News Sunday.”

If Republicans agree to Obama’s plan to increase rates on the top 2 percent of Americans, Corker added, “the focus then shifts to entitlements, and maybe it puts us in a place where we actually can do something that really saves the nation.”

Conservative stalwart Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma had already floated a similar idea, and Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., has said Obama and Boehner could at least agree not to raise tax rates on the majority of Americans and negotiate the rates of top earners later.

“It’s not waving a white flag to recognize political reality,” Cole said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

But such ideas face an uphill battle. Many House Republicans say they wouldn’t vote for tax rate hikes under any circumstances. And GOP leadership could lose leverage in the negotiations if it raises the rate on upper-income earners without getting anything substantial in return like entitlement reform.

Democratic leaders have suggested they are unwilling to tackle entitlement spending in the three weeks left before the fiscal cliff is triggered.

“I just don’t think we can do it in a matter of days here before the end of the year,” Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said of Medicare reform specifically, in an interview Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“We need to address that in a thoughtful way through the committee structure after the first of the year,” Durbin added.

The “fiscal cliff” refers to rate increases that would affect every worker who pays federal taxes, as well as spending cuts that would begin to bite defense and domestic programs alike. Economists say the combination carries the risk of a new recession, at a time the economy is still struggling to recover fully from the worst slowdown in decades.

Obama’s plan would raise $1.6 trillion in revenue over 10 years, partly by letting decade-old tax cuts on the country’s highest earners expire at the end of the year. He would continue those Bush-era tax cuts for everyone except individuals earning more than $200,000 and couples making more than $250,000. The highest rates on top-paid Americans would rise from 33 percent and 35 percent to 36 percent and 39.6 percent, respectively.

Boehner has offered $800 billion in new revenues to be raised by reducing or eliminating unspecified tax breaks on upper-income earners. The Republican plan also would cut spending by $1.4 trillion, including by trimming annual increases in Social Security payments and raising the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67.

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Taylorville couple wins $20M lotto jackpot

    A Taylorville couple has celebrated winning a more than $20 million Illinois Lottery drawing.

    Steve and Wilma Durbin were presented with their winning check Thursday afternoon at a grocery store in the central Illinois city where they purchased the ticket. The couple took a lump sum payment of $8.1 million after taxes.

    The Taylorville Breeze-Courier reports the Durbins hit the jackpot in the April 10 Illinois Lotto drawing. That was just two weeks after they were married.

    April 17, 2014

  • Branstad signs school radon bill into law

    The Iowa Department of Education must gather information from schools about whether they are testing for radon gas under a bill Gov. Terry Branstad has signed into law.

    Branstad signed the bill Thursday to require school districts to tell the department about radon testing by the end of this year. The department must then report to the Legislature by January.

    April 17, 2014

  • VIDEO: Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 17, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Golf turns into snooze-fest without celebrities like Tiger and Phil

    The Masters lumbered on last week without two of pro golf's biggest names, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, and fans changed the channel. The PGA needs someone with star power if it's going to lure people back to the game.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 17, 2014

  • Astronomers spot most Earth-like planet yet

    Astronomers have discovered what they say is the most Earth-like planet yet detected — a distant, rocky world that's similar in size to our own and exists in the Goldilocks zone where it's not too hot and not too cold for life.

    The find, announced Thursday, excited planet hunters who have been scouring the Milky Way galaxy for years for potentially habitable places outside our solar system.

    April 17, 2014

  • Defend 'Obamacare' unabashedly, some Democrats say

    With enrollments higher than expected, and costs lower, some Democrats say it's time to stop hiding from the president's health care overhaul, even in this year's toughest Senate elections.

    Republicans practically dare Democrats to embrace "Obamacare," the GOP's favorite target in most congressional campaigns. Yet pro-Democratic activists in Alaska are doing just that, and a number of strategists elsewhere hope it will spread.

    April 17, 2014

  • Search for Chicago site for George Lucas museum

    As Yoda might say: A site for a museum you must find.

    Those are the marching orders Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is giving a dozen civic leaders as the city searches for a potential location for an interactive museum to house filmmaker George Lucas' collection of art and filmmaking memorabilia.

    April 17, 2014

AP Video