President Obama: No Fiscal Cliff Deal Without Higher Rates
President Barack Obama says there will be no deal to avert the "fiscal cliff" unless Republicans drop their opposition to raising tax rates on the wealthiest Americans.
However, Obama is signaling flexibility on where the rates eventually wind up. Obama says he knows he won't get everything that he wants in negotiations with congressional Republicans. He made the comments Tuesday in an interview with Bloomberg News.
The president campaigned for re-election on a plan to raise the rates on the top 2% of income earners to 39.6%, which is where they were under former President Bill Clinton. Obama administration officials have indicated they would be open to keeping the rate lower if the same amount of revenue can be achieved through closing tax loopholes and other measures.
President Obama invited the governors to Washington to put pressure on lawmakers. Wisconsin's Republican Governor Scott Walker said they didn't come to back a specific proposal, they came to push for a deal.
"A lot of time in our states, these decisions are made at crunch time, and hopefully the same will happen here."
Arkansa's Democratic Governor Mike Beebe said, "The states are willing to share the sacrifice, we don't want to take it all, but we are willing to do our part."
House Republicans and the White House both have offers on the table, but speaking to Bloomberg Television Tuesday the president once again drew a line in the sand on taxes.
"We're going to have to see the rates on the top 2% go up, and we're not going to get a deal without it."
Republicans are just as adamant that Bush-era tax cuts must be extended for all Americans.
Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell said, "I would hope the president would turn off the campaign, congratulations you had a great victory. And let's get serious about dealing with this deficit and debt."
House Speaker John Boehner says the president has an obligation to deliver a proposal that can pass Congress.
The White House insists negotiations are continuing at different levels, but a house GOP aide said discussions are at a complete halt.