President Obama and Congressional Republicans met at the White House on Friday to start negotiations over the so-called Fiscal Cliff that will trigger $1 trillion in spending cuts as well as the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, if a deal is not reached before the end of the year.
The meeting, where Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) showed a conciliatory tone, ended with a framework that would involve both raising tax revenues and reforming entitlements.
However, the party of "fiscal responsibility" asked the president for an extension of the fiscal cliff deadline for somewhere in 2013. This equates to once again kicking the can down the road on fiscal matters — a position criticized by Republicans during the 2012 election where Romney, Ryan and all their GOP surrogates blasted Obama as a runaway spender expender and warned about the downfall our country would face if we don't put our fiscal house in order (and soon).
Democrats insist they want to reach an agreement before the end of the year. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the speaker "spoke about a framework going into next year." She also added that a deal in the shorter term was necessary in order to send "short term confidence to consumers."
Meanwhile, Boehner's office put out a statement right after the White House meeting was over. "The speaker said he believes 2013 should be the year we begin to solve our debt problem through tax reform and entitlement reform, and proposed that both parties work together to avert the fiscal cliff together in a manner that ensures 2013 is that year," a Boehner aide told HuffPo.
Though Republicans claim that both tax and entitlement reforms are "too complex" to be properly addressed before the end of the year, it's possible the GOP is trying to gain time in order to have more leverage when negotiating how to go about reforming revenue (the president wants to raise tax rates for Americans who make more than $200,000 a year, while Republicans insist on just getting rid of loopholes and deductions).