Today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said that “no substantive progress has been made” on fiscal cliff negotiations, and warned that if Democrats don’t come up with a better compromise on entitlements and spending then “there’s a real danger of going off the fiscal cliff.” This confirms that talks to stave off the full range of tax increases and spending cuts at year’s end have made little apparent progress since President Obama met with congressional leaders at the White House on November 16th.
There has been some speculation the past few days that a deal is in the making, and would most likely include a tax increase totaling nearly $1.2 trillion – the middle ground of what the President wants and what Republicans say they could get enough votes to pass. Entitlement programs, mainly Medicare, would be cut by no less than $400 billion to get Republicans to swallow those tax hikes. There will be at least $1.2 trillion in spending cuts and “war savings” but details on these cuts have not yet been released. Regardless of all this speculation, any final deal will come not by a group effort but in a private deal between two men: President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner.