Boehner calls on Obama to ‘get serious’ in talks about federal spending cuts

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday took to the House floor to push President Obama to “get serious” and offer specific spending cuts in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations.

“Where are the president’s spending cuts?” Boehner asked during a rare floor speech that he used to provide an update on the talks. “The longer the White House slow-walks this process, the closer our economy gets to the fiscal cliff.”

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The Speaker met with the President at the White House on Sunday, but the tone and substance of his remarks on Tuesday indicated there had been no breakthrough in negotiations to stave off tax increases and automatic spending cuts at year’s end.

“It was a nice meeting. It was cordial,” Boehner said. But he added that Republicans were still waiting for a plan from the White House beyond a request to increase taxes by $1.6 trillion over the next decade.

“Even if we did exactly what the president wants, we would see red ink as far as the eye can see," the Speaker said. “Right now the American people have to be scratching their heads and wondering, when is the president going to get serious?”


With talk of tax increases dominating the fiscal-cliff debate, Republicans have pushed to steer the conversation toward spending cuts.

Speaking hours after Boehner, White House press secretary Jay Carney accused Republicans of not putting forth a "concrete" proposal about how they would reduce spending.

"If the issue is 'Where are your proposals?' I think we've answered that," Carney said.

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Carney also offered some optimism for the talks, saying: "We believe there is time" to iron out a deal. Carney declined to get into specifics about the conversations occurring behind closed doors.

Carney said there is a "clean and simple way" to strike a deal and that begins with extending tax cuts for 98 percent of people, while increasing the tax rates for top earners.

This story was updated at 2:31 p.m.

Amie Parnes contributed to this story.