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Few signs of fiscal cliff progress as leaders continue posturing


Voters looking for signs of progress toward a deal to resolve the fiscal cliff got none on Thursday, as congressional leaders appeared as far apart as ever.

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House Speaker John Boehner leaves after his weekly news briefing in the Capitol Visitors Center at the U.S. Capitol December 13, 2012 in Washington, DC.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., each held press conferences to outline their positions on the fiscal cliff. And both party leaders appeared as unyielding as ever in their positions.

Boehner again urged President Barack Obama to issue a new plan to outline spending cuts, and he castigated the idea of raising income tax rates.

The Daily Rundown's Chuck Todd explains why the fiscal cliff negotiations haven't fallen apart yet. NBC's Jim Miklaszewski then joins the conversation to talk about the situation in Syria.

And Pelosi said Republicans must "get real," arguing that Congress must "come to some agreement in the next couple of days or the very beginning of next week for us to have engineered our way to a solution."

Lawmakers and Obama must reach an agreement before Dec. 31 to forestall the cocktail of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes set to take effect unless Congress acts.

The level of spending cuts and whether tax rates should be increased continue to ensnare negotiations. But as Congress careens toward the end-of-year deadline -- House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., warned Thursday of work around the holidays -- the public posturing continues to highlight the differences that persist between Obama and congressional Republicans.

While giving an update on stalled fiscal cliff negotiations, Speaker of the House John Boehner references a chart, created by former GOP vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan, which he says illustrates Washington's "spending problem."

"We made a reasonable offer. It's now up to the White House to show us how their way to cut spending will give us the balanced approach that the president has talked about for weeks," Boehner said.

Amid additional speculation that striking a deal with Obama that raises takes would imperil his position, the Republican speaker also shrugged off the notion that he was concerned with retaining power.

"I'm not concerned about my job as speaker," he said. "What I'm concerned about is doing the right things for our kids and grandkids."