President Obama laid out the broad outlines of his plan for a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff today, and he struck two familiar themes: He wants lawmakers to freeze tax rates for the middle class and below, but he thinks the Bush tax cuts should expire for the wealthiest Americans. In fact, the White House later said the president would veto any plan that extends the cuts for those who make more than $250,000 a year, reports AP. Obama has invited leaders from both parties to the White House next week to begin negotiations. He's fine with spending cuts and health care reforms—as along as they're combined with more tax revenue from the rich. “I’m open to compromise," Obama said. "I’m open to new ideas. I’m committed to solving our fiscal challenges, but I refuse to accept any approach that isn’t balanced." The election proved that most Americans agree with his view, he added.
Hours earlier, John Boehner made another public appearance to reiterate that Republicans oppose any increase in income-tax rates but are willing to raise tax revenue elsewhere, perhaps by reforming the tax code and fixing loopholes, reports the Washington Post. Boehner refused to "box himself in" with details on any aspect of the coming negotiations, reports Politico. “This is an opportunity for the president to lead,” he said. “This is his moment to engage the Congress and work toward a solution that can pass both chambers.” If no deal materializes, the CBO sees 9.1% unemployment in our future. (Read more President Obama stories.)