Boehner and White House snipe after “fiscal cliff” talks

Both sides say the other is not "serious" about reaching a deal

Topics: John Boehner, Barack Obama, Fiscal cliff, Budget Showdown, Tax cuts, Entitlement reform,

The first set of high-level “fiscal cliff” meetings do not appear to have gone so well, with both Republicans and the White House sniping over a lack of progress from the talks.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, met with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and White House legislative affairs chief Rob Nabors on Thursday, following a Wednesday night call with the president. But Boehner said after the meetings that “no substantive progress” had been made and “the White House has to get serious” about cuts to entitlements.

“I was hopeful we’d see a specific plan for cutting spending, and we sought to find out today what the president really is willing to do,” he told reporters, according to the AP.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed. “To date, the administration has remained focused on raising taxes and attending campaign-style events, with no specific plans to protect Medicare and Social Security or reduce our national debt in a meaningful way,” he said in a statement. “And today, they took a step backward, moving away from consensus and significantly closer to the cliff.”

Senate Democrats fired back in their own press conference, the Washington Post reports, saying that Republicans have failed to offer anything “serious” on tax cuts. “It’s been weeks since we met at the White House, and we’re still waiting for a serious offer,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, adding: “Stop this happy talk about revenues.”



In a White House press briefing, Jay Carney took a hard line as well, saying that Republicans need to accept tax increases for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. “This should not be news to anyone on Capitol Hill,” Carney said. “It is certainly not news to anyone in America who was not in a coma during the campaign season.”

From the AP, Carney got a little snarkier:

To Boehner’s criticism that Obama has not detailed a cost-cutting plan, Carney held up a copy of the president’s plan from September 2011, noting that it was available online and on Capitol Hill. He said, “I believe they have electricity and Internet connections.”

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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