House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said negotiations between the White House and Republicans are at a "stalemate" after a proposal by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and White House Director of Legislative Affairs Rob Nabors was soundly rejected by Republicans yesterday.
“There's a stalemate, let's not kid ourselves,” Boehner said Friday at a news conference following President Obama’s event in Pennsylvania.
Boehner contended that the White House's proposal was "not a serious proposal," and that he's disappointed that three weeks after he gave a speech saying Republicans would be willing to budge on revenues – but not tax rates as the president has called for -- that this is what was offered to them.
“When I come out the day after the election and make it clear that Republicans will put revenue on the table, I took a great risk,” Boehner claimed, adding of the White House plan, “It's not a serious proposal and so right now we're almost nowhere.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor echoed those comments, deriding the White House proposal as “not a serious offer.” He added, however, that they "remain in discussions" to find a solution to avert the fiscal cliff.
“All of a sudden,” Cantor said, “they're asking for $1.6 trillion in tax hikes and nowhere near that number in spending reforms.”
But Cantor would not say if Republicans would make a counter-offer to the White House, only saying that "this is a serious matter," and "we're not interested in playing rope-a-dope."
“What we will do is continue to take this as a serious matter,” Cantor said. “This is not a game. We're not interested in playing rope-a-dope. We're interested in trying to solve the problems of the American people so that you don't see taxes go up on anybody, so that we can engage in tax reform and get this economy going again. We're not playing a game. We're being serious. That offer yesterday was simply not serious.”
President Obama wants Republicans to go along with raising rates on the top 2 percent of Americans. Republican leadership has so far refused to entertain that.
“We take the position that raising tax rates is absolutely not something that helps get people back to work,” Cantor said, adding, “We don't want to increase tax rates; we're not going to increase tax rates, and we want to do something about the spending problem.”
Entitlements are also a sticking point. The White House has accused Republicans of not being specific about what entitlement cuts they would like to see. Asked if the GOP would go back to the White House with which cuts they want, Cantor demurred.