WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Talks between the White House and Republicans are at a standstill as a little more than a month remains until the U.S. falls off the “fiscal cliff.”
After his meeting with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner says no progress has been made in trying to get a deal done to avert tax hikes and spending cuts.
“No substantive progress has been made between the White House and the House,” Boehner said, according to The Associated Press. “I was hopeful we’d see a specific plan for cutting spending and we sought to find out today what the president really is willing to do.”
Boehner faulted Democrats for not outlining their plan for specific cuts to avoid the Jan. 2 fiscal cliff.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid shot back, saying Democrats are waiting for Republicans to come up with a “serious offer.”
“Republicans know where we stand,” Reid said. “We’re still waiting for a serious offer from Republicans.”
President Barack Obama will be back out on the “campaign trail,” so to speak, in an effort to garner public support for his fiscal cliff deal. On Friday, Obama at The Rodon Group manufacturing facility in Hatfield. The company, founded in 1956, makes toys for K’NEX Brands, which grew out of The Rodon Group. The president is offering the company up as an example of a business that depends on middle-class consumers during the holiday season.
Michael Araten, president and CEO of both companies, said they moved $50 million worth of manufacturing from Chinese plants to the United States at the height of the recession. There are two 130,000 square-foot facilities in Hatfield, where workers make about 5 billion parts a year. Business is back above pre-crash levels, he said, and there are about 200 employees at the site — up 25 percent from the recession.
In addition to toys, the plant makes coffee filters, replacement window parts and other things.
Araten, a registered Democrat, said his company is an example of one that can dramatically be affected by the fiscal cliff, especially with the coming holiday season, because it can have a negative effect on consumer confidence.
“The fiscal cliff affects all businesses, affects discretionary spending,” he said. “We are a 100 percent confidence based economy.”
The president is campaigning to increase revenue by hiking taxes on families whose income is more than $250,000 as part of his negotiations to avoid the fiscal cliff at year’s end when across-the-board tax hikes and steep spending cuts kick in.
In a statement about Obama’s visit Friday, the White House said it was urging Congress to act “to renew middle class tax cuts so families have a little more certainty at this critical time for our economy.”
Republicans want significant cuts to programs like Medicare, such as an increase in the eligibility age for the program from 65 to perhaps 67. Many also oppose allowing taxes to rise on wealthy Americans, a key part of Obama’s platform.
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