Obama, GOP Dig Heels in, 'Hundreds of Billions' Apart

White House, Boehner not budging much in latest proposals
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 12, 2012 7:56 AM CST
Obama, GOP Dig Heels in, 'Hundreds of Billions' Apart
This Nov. 16, 2012 file photo shows President Barack Obama, accompanied by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, speaking to reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

President Obama and John Boehner traded fiscal cliff proposals Monday and yesterday, but the two sides remain miles apart, and the Washington Post reports that they don't appear to be giving any ground. Yesterday's Republican proposal was basically the same as one Obama rejected a week ago, but his own proposal Monday was similarly distasteful to Republicans: It demanded $1.4 trillion in new taxes over the next decade. That's down from his initial demand for $1.6 trillion, but up from the $1.2 trillion he signaled he was open to during a weekend meeting with Boehner. Republicans are waiting for the president to propose big entitlement cuts, and he's waiting for Republicans to propose higher tax rates for the wealthy; Boehner's offer includes $800 billion in new revenue, but none from raising rates.

The standoff had Harry Reid warning yesterday that it now looks "extremely difficult to get [a deal] done before Christmas." Politico reports that the two sides are "hundreds of billions of dollars apart," and sources say they're actually getting further apart as talks continue. Obama's latest proposal, for example, offered $600 billion in entitlement cuts, while Boehner's called for more than $1 trillion. One potentially positive note: Sources tell both Politico and the Post that the White House offered to reform the corporate tax code, an issue that is important to Republicans. But no specifics were offered, so the overture isn't expected to seal a deal, the Wall Street Journal reports. (Read more fiscal cliff stories.)

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