clear
Wednesday July 1st, 2015 12:57AM

Pressuring GOP, Obama takes his fiscal plan to Pa.

By The Associated Press
HATFIELD, Pa. (AP) -- President Barack Obama argued Friday that allowing taxes to rise for the middle class would amount to a "lump of coal" for Christmas," while Republican House Speaker John Boehner declared that negotiations to surmount a looming fiscal cliff are going "almost nowhere."

Obama took his case to an audience in a Philadelphia suburb, saying that this move would present a "Scrooge Christmas" for millions of wage-earners. Speaking at a toy factory, the president said Republicans should extend existing Bush-era tax rates for households earning $250,000 or less, while allowing increases to kick in for the wealthy.

On Capitol Hill, Boehner argued that Obama's latest offer - to raise revenue by $1.6 trillion over the next decade - would be a "crippling blow" to an economy that is still struggling to find its footing. The Ohio Republican told reporters he would continue working with Obama to avoid hundreds of billions in tax increases and spending cuts that will take effect beginning in January if Washington doesn't act to stop it, but gave a gloomy assessment of the talks so far.

"There's a stalemate. Let's not kid ourselves," Boehner said. "Right now, we're almost nowhere."

Obama's speech came a day after his administration proposed $1.6 trillion in new taxes over 10 years, new spending for the unemployed and struggling homeowners and savings of about $400 billion in entitlement programs like Medicare. The proposal amounts to requests that were already d in Obama's Fiscal 2013 budget plan. Republicans rejected the offer as unreasonable.

Obama said he believed both parties "can and will work together" to reach an agreement to get its long-term deficit under control "in a way that's balanced and is fair."

"In Washington, nothing's easy so there is going to be some prolonged negotiations and all of us are going to have to get out of our comfort zones to make that happen," he said. "I'm willing to do that. I' hopeful that enough members of Congress in both parties are willing to do that as well."

White House officials hoped Friday's trip would build momentum for the president's case, even as Republicans describe the outing as an irritant and an obstacle to fruitful talks. The road trip was part of a dual White House strategy of having the president's team meet with members of Congress while Obama travels the country to pressure Congress to act.

Republicans have said they are open to new tax revenue but not higher rates.

Obama spoke at the Rodon Group manufacturing facility, showcasing the company as an example of a business that depends on middle-class consumers during the holiday season. The company manufactures parts for K'NEX Brands, a construction toy company whose products include Tinkertoy, K'NEX Building Sets and Angry Birds Building Sets.

The president joked that he's keeping his own "naughty and nice list" for members of Congress - and only some would get a K'NEX set for Christmas.

Administration officials said the offer, presented to Hill Republicans by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, constituted much of what Obama has previously suggested in budget proposals.

One new feature in the Geithner plan is a call for increasing the nation's debt limit without the need for congressional approval. Under last year's debt ceiling deal, Obama simply had to notify Congress that he was raising the debt ceiling, a move that could be blocked only if both houses of Congress approved resolutions of disapproval that Obama could veto. The administration wants a permanent extension of the debt ceiling with a similar legislative arrangement and with no offsetting spending cuts, as demanded by Republicans.

"Unfortunately, many Democrats continue to rule out sensible spending cuts that must be part of any significant agreement that will reduce our deficit," Boehner said after meeting with Geithner Thursday.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Friday that the proposal for $1.6 trillion in tax revenue was presented in context of a "balanced approach" to deficit reduction throughout the campaign.

"This is the way that we can ask the wealthiest Americans to pay a little bit more to deal with our deficit challenges," Earnest said aboard Air Force One as Obama flew to Pennsylvania.

"This was what the president has campaigned on for a long time and that was what president pushed for in context of the discussions with House Republicans," Earnest said.

Earnest said the proposal laid out by Geithner should not come as a surprise to anyone. Referring to comments by House Republican staffers who expressed surprise at Geithner's proposal, Earnest said, "This morning I was surprised they were surprised."
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Doctors: Blood clot located in Clinton's head
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton developed a blood clot in her head but did not suffer a stroke or neurological damage, her doctors said Monday. They say they are confident that she will make a full recovery.
3:55PM ( 2 years ago )
Illinois Sen. Kirk to return a year after stroke
Nearly a year after a stroke left him barely able to move the left side of his body, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is expected to climb the 45 steps to the Senate's front door this week - a walk that's significant not just for Illinois' junior senator, but also for medical researchers and hundreds of thousands of stroke patients.
3:54PM ( 2 years ago )
U.S. News
Ga. ethics legislation could end free tickets
General Assembly approval next year of a proposed ethics reform measure could endanger an important fall tradition for Georgia lawmakers - free football tickets.
6:26PM ( 2 years ago )
Abortion restrictions, tax changes loom in Ga.
Tax breaks for manufacturers and higher unemployment taxes for employers take effect with the new year in Georgia, but it remains to be seen whether the state's newest abortion restrictions will be enforced.
6:23PM ( 2 years ago )
Business News
Couch names administrative team
Ahead of his scheduled swearing in Friday, Hall County Sheriff-elect Gerald Couch named his top administrative team Monday.
6:28PM ( 2 years ago )
Tech beats Southern California in Sun Bowl
Tevin Washington threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score to help Georgia Tech beat Southern California 21-7 on Monday in the Sun Bowl.
5:54PM ( 2 years ago )
Hall Co. officials launch health-based initiative for employees
Hall County officials believe healthy county employees will be of greater service to the county. With that in mind, they have created a health-based fitness initiative to provide free fitness training for county workers.
5:46PM ( 2 years ago )
Local/State News
Maine same-sex couples marry in first hours of law
After waiting years and seeing marriage rights nearly awarded and then retracted, gay couples in Maine's largest city didn't have to wait a moment longer than necessary to wed, with licenses issued at the stroke of midnight Friday as a new state law went into effect.
8:02AM ( 2 years ago )
Fresh fighting in C. African Republic; US leaves
Renewed fighting between government forces and rebels seeking to overthrow the president broke out Friday in Central African Republic's third largest city, a military official said, hours after the U.S. ambassador and his team were evacuated from the capital.
3:18PM ( 2 years ago )
White House meeting a last stab at a fiscal deal
A planned Friday afternoon meeting among congressional leaders and the president - their first since Nov. 16 - stands as a make-or-break moment for negotiations to avoid across-the-board first of the year tax increases and deep spending cuts - the fiscal cliff.
8:06AM ( 2 years ago )
Politics
Asian stocks higher as investors watch Greek debt talks
TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares rose on Wednesday as investors watched to see the next step as Greece fell into arrears after failing to make a debt repayment on Tuesday. Investors are concerned that if Gre...
12:19AM ( 38 minutes ago )
Christie promises blunt campaign as he enters 2016 contest
LIVINGSTON, N.J. (AP) — A tough-talking New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie launched his 2016 campaign for president Tuesday with a promise to tell voters the truth even if it makes them cringe.The Republi...
8:42PM ( 4 hours ago )
Same-sex marriage fight turns to clerks who refuse licenses
MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) — Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis shut her blinds at work Tuesday to block the view of rainbow-clad protesters outside. They carried flowers and flags and signs saying "you don't own m...
7:09PM ( 5 hours ago )
Oklahoma court: Ten Commandments monument must come down
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A Ten Commandments monument on the Oklahoma Capitol grounds is a religious symbol and must be removed because it violates the state's constitutional ban on using public property t...
4:04PM ( 8 hours ago )
O say can you breathe? Fireworks pollute air, study says
NEW YORK (AP) — July Fourth fireworks fill the skies across the nation with more than sparkling bursts of color. They spew pollution, too.A study of 315 locations around the country found that the hol...
2:18PM ( 10 hours ago )