Obama, Boehner trade barbs as talks on fis­cal cliff stall

White House says speaker’s ‘Plan B’ un­ac­cept­able.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Anita Ku­mar and David Light­man McClatchy News­pa­pers

The pres­i­dent ac­cuses House GOP of let­ting per­sonal an­i­mos­ity block a fis­cal deal. Ne­go­ti­a­tions stall, and the House speaker’s‘Plan B’may face a vote Thurs­day.

WASHINGTON — Pres­i­dent Barack Obama on Wed­nes­day ac­cused House Repub­li­cans of let­ting their an­i­mos­ity to­ward him pre­vent them from ap­prov­ing a deal to avert the na­tion’s im­mi­nent fis­cal cri­sis, even though the two sides had been close to a com­pro­mise days ago.

At the same time, he threat­ened to veto House Speaker John Boehner’s alternative plan, which could come to a vote in the House to­day, if it reaches his desk.

“They keep on find­ing ways to say no as op­posed to find­ing ways to say yes,” Obama said at a mid­day news con­fer­ence at the White House. “I don’t know how much of that just has to do with, you know, it is very hard for them to say yes to me. But, you know, at some point, you know, they’ve got to take me out of it and think about their vot­ers and think about what’s best for the coun­try.”

Obama and Boehner have been ne­go­ti­at­ing be­hind closed doors to meet an end-of-the-year dead­line to set­tle on a com­bi­na­tion of tax hikes and bud­get cuts that would stave off the round of au­to­matic in­creases and cuts in Jan­uary known as the “fis­cal cliff.”

On Mon­day, they seemed close to a deal. But talks stalled the next day af­ter Boehner in­tro­duced his “Plan B” that would raises taxes only for those who earn more than $1 mil­lion a year, in­stead of the $400,000 an­nual in­come thresh­old Obama has said he is will­ing to set­tle for.

In a report is­sued Wed­nes­day, the White House said the plan — which would not re­new some tax cred­its aimed at more mod­er­ate earn­ers — is un­ac­cept­able be­cause it would raise taxes for about 25 mil­lion mid­dle­class house­holds while pre­serv­ing large tax cuts for mil­lion­aires, hurt­ing the un­em­ployed and re­duc­ing Medi­care.

In re­sponse, Boehner met with re­porters to com­plain that the Obama of­fer “fails to meet the test that the pres­i­dent promised the peo­ple: a balanced ap­proach.”

Boehner’s bill would make per­ma­nent most of the Ge­orge W. Bush-era tax cuts, ex­cept for those af­fect­ing mil­lion-dol­lar in­comes.

“To­mor­row, the House will pass leg­is­la­tion to make per­ma­nent tax re­lief for ev­ery Amer­i­can, 99.8 per­cent of the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” Boehner told re­porters. “Then the pres­i­dent will have a de­ci­sion to make. He can call on Se­nate Democrats to pass that bill, or he can be re­spon­si­ble for the largest tax in­crease in Amer­i­can his­tory.”

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