No progress in talks to avoid fiscal cliff: Boehner

Friday 07 December 2012 18.36
Republican House speaker John Boehner accused President Obama of pushing the US towards the fiscal cliff
Republican House speaker John Boehner accused President Obama of pushing the US towards the fiscal cliff

Republican House Speaker John Boehner has accused US President Barack Obama of pushing the country toward the "fiscal cliff" and of wasting another week without progress in talks.

With three weeks left before a combination of steep tax hikes and spending cuts kicks in unless Congress intervenes, Mr Boehner said the administration had adopted a "my way or the highway" approach.

He accused the administration of engaging in "reckless talk" about going over the cliff.

"This isn't a progress report because there is no progress to report," Boehner told reporters at the Capitol.

"The president has adopted a deliberate strategy to slow walk our economy right to the edge of the fiscal cliff," he said.

President Obama has insisted that tax cuts set to expire on December 31 be extended for middle-class taxpayers, but not for the wealthiest Americans.

Republicans oppose his plan to raise tax rates for the wealthiest 2% of Americans, preferring to find new revenues by closing loopholes and reducing deductions.

Mr Boehner characterized as "reckless talk" Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's comment this week that the administration was prepared to go over the cliff if tax rates for the rich were not increased.

The downbeat assessment was in line with what Boehner has offered for weeks as the two sides hold their ground on Obama's call for raising tax rates and Republican calls for cuts in entitlements like the Medicare and Medicaid healthcare programs for the elderly and the poor.