House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) declared Friday that talks to avert the so-call year-end "fiscal cliff" have now reached a "stalemate."
"There's a stalemate. Let's not kid ourselves," he said. "Right now, we're almost nowhere."
He deemed an offer outlined behind closed doors by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on Thursday "not serious" and said he was disappointed that there had not been further progress from the White House to outline spending cuts President Obama is willing to put forward to avert the coming crisis.
"This debt doesn't exist because we do not tax small businesses enough," he said. "It exists because Washington continues to spend too much."
And, as the president travels to Pennsylvania to insist that Republicans extend the tax cuts for the middle class — but allow taxes to rise for the wealthy — Boehner reiterated that the GOP is willing to raise new revenue for the government by closing tax loopholes and capping deductions. But, he said, he continues to believe that raising marginal tax rates would be bad for the economy.
"The president's tax increase would be another crippling blow for small businesses," he said, "while doing little to nothing to solve the bigger problem" of debt.