House Speaker John Boehner just gave his second press conference in three days on the looming fiscal cliff, continuing to place pressure on President Barack Obama to “lead” on a bargain.
Boehner said he hopes “2013 is finally the year” for a “grand bargain.” He placed an onus on the president to work for a bipartisan solution.
“This is an opportunity for the president to lead. This is his moment to work on a solution that can pass both chambers,” Boehner said.
But he signaled he would not be willing to raise taxes on upper-income Americans, a key part of the president’s plan.
Boehner was asked about exit polls showing that about 60% of Americans support raising taxes on incomes above $250,000.
“The problem with raising tax rates on the wealthiest Americans is that more than half of them are small business owners,” he said.
He said lowering tax rates and cleaning up the tax code will produce economic growth and create jobs, and produce “more revenue.”
“I hope discussions begin soon so we can forge an agreement that will pass Congress,” Boehner says.
“When the president and I have been able to come to an agreement, there has been no problem in getting it passed in the House,” he says. Of course, they haven’t been able to on a tax deal.
Boehner’s press conference preempts a 1:05 p.m. statement from President Barack Obama on the matter, setting up a battle of sorts that could linger until the end of the year.
On Wednesday, Boehner said that House Republicans would be open to “more revenue” as part of a fiscal cliff deal — which, as many subsequently pointed out, isn’t exactly a drastic change from his previous positions.
Obama, meanwhile, seems prepared to fight if he doesn’t get what he wants. ABC’s Jake Tapper reports that he’s set to “barnstorm” the country, making a plea to the American public instead of negotiating in Washington closed-door sessions.
In a question-and-answer session, Boehner was also asked about his party’s standing after the election and his urgency to tackle immigration reform.
“It’s clear that as a political party we have some work to do,” he said.
On immigration, Boehner said he was “not going to get any details.” He repeated that it was Obama’s “opportunity to lead” on the issue.
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