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Temporary fix ‘best you can hope for’ on fiscal cliff, says Boehner

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Sunday that Congress would likely pass a temporary measure to avoid the looming fiscal cliff during its post-election lame-duck session, effectively ruling out the possibility of a grand bargain that would address long-term questions about the nation's budget.

"Lame-duck Congresses aren't known for doing big things and probably shouldn't do big things, so I think the best you can hope for is a bridge," Boehner told CNN while visiting a sports bar in Wadsworth, Ohio. 

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Congress must figure out both whether to avert billions of dollars in planned spending cuts to the defense budget, triggered automatically as a result of Congress being unable to reach a comprehensive debt deal, and if — and in what way — to extend the George W. Bush-era tax cuts, set to lapse at the end of the year.

The House Speaker, who was campaigning in his home state for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, predicted Congress would simply agree to "some kind [of] temporary pushback of the sequester."

"I would think that would be the best you can hope for, and even that is going to be very difficult to do," he continued.

Despite President Obama's insistence that he could strike a grand bargain with Congress in a second term, Boehner still indicated that the sides were far apart and that a proposal to cut $2.50 in spending for every $1 in new taxes was not "big enough." The Speaker said he did not believe such a proposal would do enough to avert future battles.

"I made it clear that any increase in the debt limit — the cuts and reforms have to be greater than the increase in the debt limit. How many times do we want to deal with the debt limit over the next four years?" Boehner said.

And while the Ohio lawmaker called President Obama "reasonable," he also said a second term would put the president in a tough spot.

"So if there's a status quo election, there's going to be an awful lot of responsibility on the president to finally lead instead of squandering his opportunity at being president," he said.