President Obama and John Boehner(Photo: Carolyn Kaster, AP)
President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met at the White House on Monday morning to discuss the imminent fiscal cliff.
meeting lasted about 45 minutes and took place amid reports of movement
in negotiations on a debt reduction agreement. It would be designed to
avoid the fiscal cliff, a series of tax hikes and budget cuts set to
kick in next year if there is no deal..
The White House and Boehner's office confirmed the speaker's visit but did not provide details.
"Conversations continue," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
White House statement said Obama and Boehner met "to continue their
discussions about the fiscal cliff and balanced deficit reduction."
sides have said they would like to strike a deal before Christmas Day, a
week from Tuesday. There may be more impetus in light of the school
shooting in Newtown, Conn., which has shifted political attention to the
issues of gun control and violence.
Over the weekend, sources
said Boehner offered to raise the top income tax rate, affecting
Americans who make more than $1 million annually.
wants to raise the top two tax rates, covering taxpayers who make more
than $250,000 a year. He says the government needs more revenue to help
reduce a national debt that exceeds $16 trillion.
There are also reports that Boehner has offered to increase the debt ceiling as part of a deal.
aides, while not commenting on the reports, have said debt reduction
agreement must include major spending cuts, including the fast-growing
entitlement programs of Social Security and Medicare.
position has not changed," said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. "Any
debt limit increase would require cuts and reforms of a greater amount."
Both sides face an end-of-the-year deadline to avoid the fiscal cliff.