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Spending Cuts Remain Major Sticking Point In ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Negotiations

Democrats And Republicans Each Claim The Other Hasn't Offered Proposals
Obama (credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images); Boehner (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Obama (credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images); Boehner (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The “fiscal cliff” showdown in Washington is heating up. On Thursday afternoon, House Speaker John Boehner was seen arriving at the White House for a meeting with President Barack Obama, hours after Boehner accused him of dragging his feet on negotiations.

The fact is it won’t be a merry Christmas if there is no deal on the so-called fiscal cliff, because without a compromise tax hikes and across-the-board spending cuts kick in. CBS News has learned that in anticipation of that, senators and congressmen have been ordered to cut their own budgets by 11 percent.

Still, talks were at a standstill Thursday, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported.

“Here we are at the 11th hour and the president still isn’t serious about dealing with this issue right here. It’s this issue, spending,” Boehner said.

The sticking points remain the same. The president wants higher taxes for households making $250,000. The Republicans want deeper cuts in spending, especially on government programs like Social Security and Medicare. Both sides charge each other with being short on specifics.

“What spending cuts have the Republicans put forward? The proposal we’ve seen is a two-page letter, and no more than a sentence on revenues,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

Republicans, on the other hand, say there have been no specifics from the White House on spending cuts.

“Ifs and buts are like candy and nuts. If that were the case every day would be like Christmas,” Boehner said.

Although the president has embarked on a campaign to convince voters around the country that taxing the so-called rich is the way to go, his reaction to the stalled talks was publicly mild.

“It’s a work in progress,” Obama said.

Democrats are anxious to at least extend tax cuts for the middle class and are calling on the House to vote on that bill, which they’ve already passed.

“What is John Boehner waiting for when it comes to tax cuts, for working families across America?” Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin said.

Face-to-face negotiations between President Obama and House Speaker Boehner were underway Thursday evening. Still, members of Congress have been ordered to be fluid in making plans to go home for the holidays, in case the stalemate continues.

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