WASHINGTON - A year-end deadline approaching, negotiations to avoid an economy-rattling "fiscal cliff" appeared at a standstill Monday. Republicans pressed President Barack Obama to name specific spending cuts he will support, while the White House insisted the GOP agree explicitly to raise tax rates on upper incomes.
At a campaign-style event in Michigan, Obama warned his listeners their taxes will rise on Jan. 1 without action by the Congress. "That's a hit you can't afford to take," he declared.
He spoke one day after meeting privately at the White House with House Speaker John Boehner, whose office expressed frustration with the talks to date.
President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks to workers about the economy during a visit to Daimler Detroit Diesel in Redford, Mich., Monday.
"We continue to wait for the president to identify the spending cuts he's willing to make as part of the 'balanced' approach he promised the American people,'" said a written statement from the Ohio Republican's office.
The negotiations are designed to prevent across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to begin at the turn of the year, a combination that economists say poses the threat of a new recession.
While leaders in both parties say they are eager to avoid that "cliff," negotiations on a plan to cut deficits by other measures have turned into a major postelection showdown between opposing sides in a divided government.
Many Republicans agree that Obama and the Democrats hold most of the political leverage, given the president's re-election more than a month ago after a campaign in which he said the wealthy should pay more in taxes.