Sunday, July 10, 2011

Taxes still a stumbling block in US debt talks

Debt Negotiations: Can A Deal Be Struck?

PHOTO: President Barack Obama meets with Congressional leadership in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington to discuss the debt in this July 7, 2011 file photo.

Even before President Obama could return for talks with Congressional leaders on the debt ceiling and deficit reduction, Speaker of the House John Boehner pulled the plug.
The talks are some of the biggest policy discussions in decades, but Speaker Boehner said Saturday night in a paper statement that he is now skeptical that an agreement can be reached in a $4 trillion deal.
"Despite good-faith efforts to find common ground, the White House will not pursue a bigger debt reduction agreement without tax hikes," Boehner said.
Instead of a grand bargain as President Obama has been hoping for, Boehner now says he's concentrating on producing a smaller measure that "still meets our call for spending reforms and cuts greater than the amount of any debt limit increase."
Boehner said he wants to focus on a smaller $2 trillion deal, as Vice President Joe Biden was discussing with a bipartisan group prior to the president's involvement, as opposed to the $4 trillion deficit cuts deal that was anticipated from today's planned negotiations.
The White House issued a statement soon after Boehner's, saying that while the president sees solving the country's fiscal issues as imperative, the administration sees the Republicans' demands as putting an unfair burden on the middle class and elderly.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File/AP Photo
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"We cannot ask the middle-class and seniors to bear all the burden of higher costs and budget cuts," White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement Saturday night. "We need a balanced approach that asks the very wealthiest and special interests to pay their fair share as well, and we believe the American people agree."
While Boehner has been receiving pressure from Tea Party members, who are unwilling to compromise on raising taxes, the White House was also receiving pushback from Democrats wary of potential cuts to programs such as Social Security and Medicare.Read more...

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