House Speaker John Boehner accused President Barack Obama on Tuesday of slow-walking negotiations to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” and urged him to name specific cuts in government spending he would support as part of any compromise.
“Let’s be honest. We’re broke. The plan we offered is consistent with the president’s call for a balanced approach,” said the Ohio Republican. “We’re still waiting for the White House” to do the same.”
The White House and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi disputed the assertion within moments.
“The irony of this is that the White House offer had very specific cuts, the GOP counteroffer had almost none,” tweeted communications director Dan Pfeiffer.
In remarks on the House floor immediately after Boehner spoke, Pelosi also called on him and the Republican leadership to permit a vote on Obama’s plan to extend expiring tax cuts for most Americans, while letting them lapse at upper incomes. She predicted it would have “overwhelming support.”
The fast-paced events underscored the difficulty confronting the White House and congressional leaders as they hope to avert across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts in government programs that are scheduled to take effect at the turn of the year. Economists say the combination is enough to send the economy into recession.