WASHINGTON Dec 10 Negotiations between the
White House and House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on
averting the Dec. 31 "fiscal cliff" are continuing but
Republicans are awaiting a counter-offer from President Barack
Obama, an aide to Boehner said on Monday.
"The Republican offer made last week remains the Republican
offer," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said.
He said Boehner continues to "wait for the president to
identify the spending cuts he's willing to make" in
Last week, Boehner and his House leadership team sent Obama
a proposal they said would produce $2.2 trillion in new savings
over 10 years. It included $800 billion in new revenues that
would be achieved through comprehensive tax reform.
None of those new revenues would come from raising income
tax rates on the 2 percent of families with the highest net
incomes - a central Obama demand.
Democrats have rejected Boehner's proposal, insisting that
tax rates on the rich must be nailed down before negotiatin g
further on how to pro ceed wi th ta x reform efforts next year,
along with new spending cuts for "entitlement" programs, such as
the Medi care healthcare prog ram for the elderly.
The White House has proposed its own set of spending cuts
that Republicans have rejected, arguing that they do not
effectively deal with long-term rising costs of Medicare,
Medicaid and Social Security programs.
On Sunday, Boehner met with Obama at the White House. Steel,
on Monday, said "discussions with the White House are taking
place." He did not say whether more face-to-face meetings are
scheduled between the two ke y principles in the conflict.
A Democratic aide, who asked not to be identified, said
there was no indication that Sunday's talks between Obama and
Boehner advanced efforts to avoid $600 billion in
across-the-board tax hikes and spending cuts that are due to
begin in January if Congress and the White House cannot find a
more suitable replacement.