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Obama pressures GOP as he takes fiscal fight on the road

By Jim Kuhnhenn

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 02:36 p.m. HST, Nov 30, 2012

HATFIELD, Pa. » President Barack Obama argued today that allowing taxes to rise for the middle class would amount to a "lump of coal" for Christmas," while Republican House Speaker John Boehner declared that negotiations to surmount a looming fiscal cliff are going "almost nowhere."

Obama took his case to an audience in a Philadelphia suburb, saying that this move would present a "Scrooge Christmas" for millions of wage-earners. Speaking at a toy factory, the president said Republicans should extend existing Bush-era tax rates for households earning $250,000 or less, while allowing increases to kick in for the wealthy.

On Capitol Hill, Boehner argued that Obama's latest offer — to raise revenue by $1.6 trillion over the next decade — would be a "crippling blow" to an economy that is still struggling to find its footing. The Ohio Republican told reporters he would continue working with Obama to avoid hundreds of billions in tax increases and spending cuts that will take effect beginning in January if Washington doesn't act to stop it, but gave a gloomy assessment of the talks so far.

"There's a stalemate. Let's not kid ourselves," Boehner said. "Right now, we're almost nowhere."

Obama's speech came a day after his administration proposed nearly $1.6 trillion in new tax revenue over 10 years, $600 billion in savings from changes in mandatory spending programs including Medicare, and $200 billion in spending ranging from public works projects to help for the unemployed and struggling homeowners, according to administration officials.

Republicans rejected the offer as unreasonable. Republicans have said they are open to new tax revenue but not higher rates.

Obama said he believed both parties "can and will work together" to reach an agreement to get its long-term deficit under control "in a way that's balanced and is fair."

Obama spoke at the Rodon Group manufacturing facility, showcasing the company as an example of a business that depends on middle-class consumers during the holiday season. The company manufactures parts for K'NEX Brands, a construction toy company whose products include Tinkertoy, K'NEX Building Sets and Angry Birds Building Sets. The road trip was part of a dual White House strategy of having the president's team meet with members of Congress while Obama travels the country to pressure Congress to act.

The president joked that he's keeping his own "naughty and nice list" for members of Congress — and only some would get a K'NEX set for Christmas.

Administration officials said the White House offer, presented to Hill Republicans by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, constituted much of what Obama has previously suggested in budget proposals and during the campaign.

Under the administration's plan, the new tax revenue would include $950 billion generated by raising taxes on families with incomes over $250,000 and by closing certain tax loopholes. The remainder would be achieved through an overhaul of the tax system next year and would not become effective until 2014.

The proposal, which the administration has also described to business and labor leaders, would require Congress and the White House to identify a "down payment" of cuts and tax loophole closings by the end of this year that would buy Congress and the president time to negotiate a tax overhaul and changes in entitlement programs between now and Aug. 1.

One new feature in the Geithner plan is a call for increasing the nation's debt limit without the need for congressional approval. Under last year's debt ceiling deal, Obama simply had to notify Congress that he was raising the debt ceiling, a move that could be blocked only if both houses of Congress passed resolutions of disapproval that Obama could veto. The administration wants a permanent extension of the debt ceiling with a similar legislative arrangement and with no offsetting spending cuts, as demanded by Republicans.

One administration official said Obama's must-have positions are expirations of the Bush era tax cuts for high earners and the inclusion of the debt limit in the deal. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was unauthorized to describe publicly the state of negotiations.

By counting $1 trillion in spending cuts agreed to last year, claiming $800 billion saved this year and over the next decade because of troop drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan and estimating $600 billion in lower interest payments on the national debt, the administration places its total deficit reduction over 10 years nearly $4.4 trillion.

Associated Press writers David Espo, Andrew Taylor, Ben Feller, and Ken Thomas contributed to this report.

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CriticalReader wrote:
Boehner is stuck. He either becomes the villain responsible for the US going over the fiscal cliff, or he becomes the one who "gave in" to Obama. He's impotent. AND boxed in. Make your move GOP. Unseat Boehner as Speaker. Save America.
on November 30,2012 | 09:09AM
kainalu wrote:
The GOP is being held hostage by the TP, albeit, their numbers have dropped. Still, Boehner backed the moderate Repubican in a lot of those races that included TP candidates, and those he backed lost. So, there are some "Republicans" amongst their ranks that now obstruct Boehner. You're right - he's in a catch-22 situation.
on November 30,2012 | 09:38AM
kainalu wrote:
Extending the Bush tax cuts for the more than 97% of us that earn less than $200K-a-year ($250 jointly), while excluding those that earn at that level, was a key debate in the campaign. The majority of those that voted elected Obama. Hello? Meanwhile, the very latest pew poll indicates that a significant majority of Americans are holding the Republicans responsible for the pending fiscal cliff. Hello? Come on, man.
on November 30,2012 | 09:36AM
hawaiikone wrote:
Obama is ready to get out of his comfort zone? By demanding authority to raise the debt ceiling by executive order, presenting essentially the same budget he did before, and refusing any offsetting spending cuts? Sounds like he's trying to get even more comfortable. Sometimes I think it may be easier to just say go ahead and do what you want. But then I look at my grandkids and wonder what's gonna happen to them.
on November 30,2012 | 10:17AM
Pacej001 wrote:
Please explain the purpose of Obama's tax the rich policy? At most, according to CBO, his proposal during the campaign would raise $80 billion a year. If applied directly to our annual deficit, he would bring the total down from $1.1trillion a year to $1.02 trillion a year. There would be a cost in the form of lost job growth from this tax increase from 200K in lost job growth (CBO) to 700K (Ernst and Young accounting firm). Further, Obama is essentially offering no spending cuts. So, second question: What happened to "balanced approach" he mentioned during his campaign. His own debt commission recommended three to one spending cuts to tax increases. Geitners proposal inverts that to two to one tax increases for every dollar in spending cuts and the cuts suggested are not specific and they are not immediate, meaning they may or may not happen in the future. Happy to hear a rational explanation of all this, but until I do, I'll continue to believe that Obama is set on a path that will lead to great fiscal damage to the country.
on November 30,2012 | 10:58AM
serious wrote:
Pace, you hit it!!! People like to hear, tax the rich because it doesn't involve them. Just like building that oil refinery or garbage dump in the "other neighborhood". He's a fraud--campaigning in Penn--they are all Democrats, he can get the photo ops with "his kind" standing behind him--what does that prove? He should, like Reagan, invite the parties to his office, pour a drink and sit down and do something!! there is no third term, he's wearing out AF 1 and the crews--gas--who cares it's only taxpayer money!!
on November 30,2012 | 02:30PM
CriticalReader wrote:
Yup. Going around the country. Spouting off about what he wants to do. Photo opping and getting his picture in the paper. Doesn't want to drink with the Republicans. Seems like it irritates you, serious. Get used to it. Four years, one month, and about 21 days more of it to look forward to.
on November 30,2012 | 02:36PM
Pacej001 wrote:
Look on the bright side. There's going to be a lot of fun to be had ridiculing the simple minded tax proposals coming out of treasury, the whitehousel, Harry Reid, and Obama supporters. It's beyond goofy, that he's going to stop the seas from rising, control our debt, and stimulate the economy and heal our entitlemnts with his campaign promise to tax the rich which actually amounts to,at most $80 billion dollars a year in revenue. Wowzer! What a big number! Not enough fingers and toes to figure that one out. Got to simple that down so Mr. Prez's supporters can get it. Got it! The Federal Gov't spends about $10billion a day, so Mr. Obama's great big,heal everything tax increase will pay for EIGHT WHOLD DAYS OF GOVERNMENT SPENDING, giving new meaning to the word "bupkis".
on November 30,2012 | 04:00PM
tinapa wrote:
And after him, enters Hillary Clinton; therefore, it seems like the wait is eternal if they continue to reject reality.
on November 30,2012 | 05:51PM
tinapa wrote:
Increasi in tax rates on the rich is just a part of a larger formula in the quest for deficit reduction. Massive overhaul of the tax codes which include abolishing loopholes and tax preferential treatment items enjoyed only by the rich must be in the mix. The President is pushing very hard for the passage of a law making the tax cuts permanent for the middle class immediately and he should not be denied in fulfilling his campaign promises. The President has a huge mandate in doing just that. With respect to the increase in tax rates on the two percent, both sides could negotiate that next year but do not hold hostage the middle class reduction in tax rates The President has proposed a sensible and crystal clear balanced approach to which Repubs expressed "surprised." They are again acting infront of a camera a cherographic drama because they knew beforehand what the President has been proposing. Lacking specificity? No, because the Repubs knew already what he wants. Now, if they want the President to be more specific, they should tell him what and how much to cut from the earned entitlement programs and that would put the Repubs deeper in the box. I believe the Repubs will lose this war of attrition.
on November 30,2012 | 03:04PM
Pacej001 wrote:
You got the funny bone with that one! "Quest for debt reduction"? Mr. Obama's budget submissions have the debt rising to around $25 trillion in ten years, and that's with HIS rosy assumptions. --------------- "Massive overhaul of the tax code"? Did you get a secret presidential/democrat memo on tax reform? There is no such proposal by the President or the democrats.------------------ The president can promise all he wants, but last time I checked the Constitution granted spending authority to the Congress, not the chief executive. His promises carry the weight of goose down because, you see, we have more than one branch of government. --------- The President has proposed a..."crystal clear balanced approach"? Wwwwwhhhhaaattt? Granted, he said the words "balanced approach, but his Secy of Treasury, little timmy Geitner, proposed tax increases twice that in his "tax the rich" campaign promise and offered half the amount of spending cuts, unspecified, to come some time in the future, maybe.--------------------- "Knew before hand what the President wants"? How? Where? He has offered nothing beyond the tax increase. No spending cuts. No adjustments to entitlements. Nothing. If you know of specifics beyond return to Clinton tax rates on those earning over $250K, list them. Take your time. Love to see the presidents cuts. Waiting for it.----------------- I too believe the Republicans could lose this if the public's logic is as scrambled as yours. It's really simple. We can not pay for our welfare state promises. Take all of the assets of all of the evil rich and we're still in an inconceivably deep fiscal hole and all the president's bumper sticker logic and his supporters' chest thumping about "we won" will not change that fact.
on November 30,2012 | 03:48PM
dontbelieveinmyths wrote:
Why is Obama taking his case on the road and in the media. No need to campaign. Just sit and finish a deal. Taxing the "rich", won't do anything to solve our problems. The problem is we spend what we don't have. Congress (both sides) are like welfare recipients...can't tell the difference between needs and wants. Instead of raising taxes in percentage terms, why not just cap deductions. I don't know what the numbers would be, but......
on November 30,2012 | 11:06AM
hawaiikone wrote:
He's on the road simply to stir up anger at the perceived "roadblockers". Rather than fulfilling his pledges, made just a few weeks ago, he's trying to ramrod the same proposals as before. No offers of matching cuts, which even he admits are vital, just the same song and dance as always.
on November 30,2012 | 01:40PM
CriticalReader wrote:
"He's on the road simply to stir up anger at the perceived "roadblockers"." Yup. And it is an easy and good strategy which he can do because he won the election for President of the United States. He can also do it because in common person thought (mine) 2 out of 3 (Senate and President) equals a majority and mandate. The House GOP "roadblockers" are on the verge of ruining their party's prospects for 2014, and therefore the remainder of Obama's term. Already, they are seen as the party that's forcing us onto the fiscal cliff out of spite and a desperate clinging to rejected dogma.
on November 30,2012 | 02:07PM
hawaiikone wrote:
So why can't he simply live up to his word? Negotiate, rather than dictate? A leader would bring the country together, not stir up even more resentment. Constant meetings, give and take, it's called finding the common ground. You voted for him, tell us why he won't do as he promised?
on November 30,2012 | 03:33PM
CriticalReader wrote:
B/C I, and a lot more people than voted for Romney, voted for him, and because he has about 50 more months to wait out the GOP in general, and about 19-20 months before an uncooperative GOP House majority gets the boot. Don't cry about him not being "nice" now. He's taking a page out of your guys' book.
on November 30,2012 | 03:51PM
Pacej001 wrote:
Who care's what "book" he's using. The question is how we prevent our fiscal disaster from going critical. With $60 trillion in unfunded liabilities and over 80% of GDP in debt we are near the red zone, economically speaking. Just look around. Argentina, Greece, Spain, etc. It can happen to us. The problem is clear. However, one of the two parties in the spending negotiation either doesn't, can't, or won't see it. Pick your reason, but it's clear that Obama has no intention of tackling our debt, deficit, and entitlement problems. Given that there's been no senate democrat produced budget in four years (and no likelihood of one in the future) we, the entire country, is adrift. This can't be seen as any thing but intentional. It is the most disgraceful neglect of governmental responsibility in my lifetime, and Mr. Obama and the democrats own it.
on November 30,2012 | 04:14PM
CriticalReader wrote:
There are options. You could move to a state that's going to secede. Or, you could do what Glenn Beck says, and move out of the country. Or, you could run for office next time and see if anyone in Hawaii will agree enough with you to elect you. Or, you could grin an bear it, which is probably the best option. Because nothing you're saying is going to make a bit of difference. Because your viewpoint was rejected about 3.5 weeks ago.
on November 30,2012 | 04:38PM
Pacej001 wrote:
LOL I don't need/have to move. Besides, when it comes to illogic and weak thinking, this is a target rich environment (I notice you didn't dispute my numbers). Grin and bear it? Roughly translated from progressivese: "shut up". What happened to the old liberal free speech proponents? Seems like they turned in the tie dyeds for nice brown uniforms. So, shut up? I don't think so. Wouldn't be prudent. Nor would it be in line with our democratic traditions. View point rejected? On some things, maybe, but I'll let you in on a little secret--- math doesn't care who won the election. It just is. And the state of our national fiscal math is bad, headed now for worse, much worse. Also, math doesn't care what either of us thinks. So, I'l just keep ridiculing while you enjoy your pyrrhic victory.
on November 30,2012 | 05:04PM
tinapa wrote:
If there is a person who is dead serious in solving the country's problems, it is the President. But he needs the help of the other party which, despite their drubbing defeat, still refuse to embrace the reality of the moment. They continue to hide beneath the shadow of obstructionism. They should work with the president for the betterment of the country, because if they continue to "screw up" the President, they are digging their political graves and I hate to see that because I like to see 2 strong political party system.
on November 30,2012 | 05:47PM
CriticalReader wrote:
If your numbers were absolutely correct, then you wouldn't need me to make you feel correct. I don't necessarily doubt your numbers. I doubt you have access to any accurate information or perspective that could give you an understanding of national economic figures sufficient for me to have any confidence whatsoever in buying into your rant. The reason I feel quite confident about that is that you're posting here. Not in a Congressional Budget Office internal email. So, I don't even consider your numbers long enough to agree or disagree. I rely on basic logic. And, my basic logic tells me that US neo-cons such as yourself have two problems. The smaller one is that they resent the government and - what did Romney refer to them as???/ - oh yeah, care little about the 47% (again, sketchy numbers, but merely used to illustrate), or, really, 99.999% of people who constitute everyone but themselves. The second problem is that you listen to the lunatics who originated your argument(s). But, from one human to another, try grinning and bearing it. You'll feel better. Or, at least find a diversion for about 3 or 4 years. You'll be less stressed and frustrated.
on November 30,2012 | 07:11PM
hawaiikone wrote:
"B/C I, and a lot more people than voted for Romney, voted for him". Rationalization for lying? Too bad it's come to that. We have little hope if we've descended to the level that we now actually believe the end justifies the means.
on November 30,2012 | 07:16PM
CriticalReader wrote:
Lying? Cite the statement (with source) that you base your accusation on. Then, consider these whoppers: Trickle Down Economics will work; Read My Lips, No New Taxes; (and the best one) Iraq has WMD.
on November 30,2012 | 07:55PM
hawaiikone wrote:
Where to begin, there's so many. Well, here's one from Dave, http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2012/10/24/letterman-upset-and-discouraged-obama-lied-about-romney-wanting-detro The embassy fiasco, "we'll find the common ground", the list is huge. This nation recently heard, from his lips, his promise to "give and take" to avoid the cliff, yet already he's trying to ram his previous budget through, with egregious additions as well, such as executive power to raise the debt ceiling. what responsible legislator would give a president a blank check, especially the very one who's spent more than all other previous presidents. Thank God for these "roadblockers", as they seem to be the only hope we have left.
on December 1,2012 | 06:08AM
CriticalReader wrote:
Gee, I thought from your accusation of lying that you could direct me to somewhere where Obama said he was going to give the GOP House leadership what it wanted. And, I'm quite sure he didn't say that. So, I don't see his current approach as dishonest in any way. It's politics. And, Obama and the Democrats have the political edge. Which means you end up futless.
on December 1,2012 | 06:23AM
hawaiikone wrote:
If you're unable to even concede the dishonesty going on here, then there's no need for further discussion. And the weak attempt to justify wrongdoing by claiming the other side did it is sad indeed. Being in the majority does provide power, however, achieving it without ethics has a price that will be paid.
on December 1,2012 | 06:53AM
CriticalReader wrote:
I think your intellectual dishonesty rises to a level where you're lying about Obama lying. So, that makes you the liar. You can't turn a not lie into a lie by lying about it. That's nothing but sophistry, Think about it. See what Sean, Rush and Glenn are doing to your mind? You don't want your tombstone to read: "He lent himself to Sophistry", do you? Stop listening to those guys and repeating their garbage.
on December 1,2012 | 04:12PM
tinapa wrote:
Critical .... has good suggestion for you to consider. That would give you everlasting peace of mind since you don't have to worry about deficits, earned entitlements, unfunded programs, etc. But you can still be a critic of Obama. I don't mind.
on November 30,2012 | 05:59PM
64hoo wrote:
theres no such thing as a fiscal cliff its just a made up word that dos'nt mean nothing.
on December 1,2012 | 01:32AM
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