Obama Seeks Scaled-Down `Fiscal Cliff’ Agreement
|ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press|
Obama's announcement was a recognition that chances for a larger agreement before year's end have probably collapsed. It also suggested that any chance for a smaller deal may rest in the
"In the next few days, I've asked leaders of
Maybe, maybe not. The latest plan faces uncertainty at best in the sharply divided
Boehner, giving the
Earlier, Boehner said Obama needs to give more ground to reach an agreement and that both he and Obama had indicated in a Monday telephone call that their latest offers represented their bottom lines. "How we get there," he added, "God only knows."
Obama announced his plans after talking by phone with Boehner and meeting with Senate Majority Leader
Boehner spoke in the morning, describing the increasingly tangled attempts to beat the
"Because of the political divide in the country, because of the divide here in
Obama said that in his negotiations with Boehner, he had offered to meet Republicans halfway when it came to taxes and "more than halfway" toward their target for spending cuts.
It's clear, however, that there's great resistance in
Obama said he remains committed to working toward a goal of longer-term deficit reduction to reduce chronic trillion-dollar deficits while keeping tax rates in place for nearly everyone.
"Even though Democrats and Republicans are arguing about whether those rates should go up for the wealthiest individuals, all of us _ every single one of us _ agrees that tax rates shouldn't go up for the other 98 percent of Americans," Obama said, citing statistics associated with his promise to protect household income under
Neither the House nor the
The week began amid optimism that Obama and Boehner had finally begun to significantly narrow their differences. Both were offering a cut in taxes for most Americans, an increase for a relative few, and cuts of roughly
Boehner stepped back and announced what he called Plan B, legislation to let tax rates rise on incomes of
Despite statements of confidence, he and his lieutenants decided late Thursday they were not going to be able to secure the votes needed to pass the measure in the face of opposition from conservatives unwilling to violate decades-old party orthodoxy never to raise tax rates.
The retreat came after it became clear that too many Republicans feared "the perception that somebody might accuse them of raising taxes," Boehner said.
Boehner also said that last Monday he had told Obama he had submitted his bottom-line proposal.
"The president told me that his numbers _ the
That contradicted remarks by
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