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Boehner demands Obama 'get serious' and offer new plan


House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, took to the House floor Tuesday to urge President Barack Obama to “get serious” and offer a plan to resolve the impending fiscal cliff.

Speaker of the House John Boehner provides an update on the fiscal cliff negotiations, placing pressure on the White House to reveal how they intend to compromise with House Republicans on spending cuts.

Following a weekend meeting between the president and Capitol Hill’s top Republican, Boehner said that a deal to address the combination of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts set for the end of this month continued to elude lawmakers.

Boehner placed the blame squarely with Obama, whom the speaker again demanded produce a new version of his plan.

“If the president doesn’t agree with our approach, he’s got an obligation to put forward a plan that can pass both chambers of the Congress,” Boehner said. “Because right now, the American people have to be scratching their heads and wondering: When is the president going to get serious?”

The main sticking point involves taxes, and the question of whether tax rates should be allowed to go up for the wealthiest of Americans. Obama has demanded that tax rates go up on high earners, possibly to the levels they were at during President Bill Clinton’s administration. Republicans argue that they should instead raise revenue through eliminating tax deductions and loopholes, thereby sparing some small-business owners whose revenue is taxed as income.

But there’s also the broader question of whether an extension of the debt limit should be included in the deal, along with Republicans’ demand that Obama specify the areas in which he’s willing to make cuts.

“A lot of people know that the president and I met on Sunday. It was a nice meeting, it was cordial. But we’re still waiting for the White House to identify what spending cuts the president is willing to make as part of the ‘balanced’ approach that he promised the American people,” Boehner said.

The Ohio Republican added: “Where are the president’s spending cuts? And the longer the White House slow-walks this process, the closer our economy gets to the fiscal cliff.”

Still, Boehner expressed optimism that Republicans could still reach an agreement with Obama before the Dec. 31 deadline.