The Economy & The Fiscal Cliff

  • White House: no constitutional workaround for debt ceiling

    WASHINGTON, Dec 6 (Reuters) - The Obama administration does not believe that the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution allows the president to ignore the debt ceiling, White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Thursday.

    The statutory ceiling on U.S. Treasury borrowing is $16.4 trillion, and the nation is expected to hit the legal limit near the year's end.

    Congress must raise the borrowing cap, and Carney's comments dismissed the possibility that President Barack Obama could have a constitutional option to get around Congress if lawmakers failed to do so.
  • White House on jobless dip: Economy healing but much work remains

    WASHINGTON, Dec 7 (Reuters) - The White House's chief economist said on Friday that a drop in the November U.S. jobless rate to 7.7 percent was proof that the economy is healing from recession but that much work remains to be done.

    The Labor Department reported that the jobless rate dipped from 7.9 percent with 146,000 jobs created. Many analysts had forecast an uptick in the jobless rate as a result of superstorm Sandy's impact.

    "While more work remains to be done, today's employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression," said Alan Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

    In a statement, Krueger argued the Labor report showed the need for Congress to approve President Barack Obama's proposal to extend Bush-era tax cuts for those making less than $250,000 a year and raise them on the wealthy.
  • US House Speaker calls 11 am ET news conference on fiscal cliff

    WASHINGTON, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner called a news conference for 11 a.m. ET (1600 GMT) on Friday to discuss stalled efforts to cut a bipartisan deal to avert the fiscal cliff, an aide said.

    With less than three weeks to go before a year-end deadline, negotiations have essentially come down to Boehner, the top U.S. Republican, and President Barack Obama.
  • Consumer confidence plunges in early December

    Americans' outlook on the economy and their finances took a turn for the worse in early December due likely to anxiety about the potential for higher taxes resulting from contentious discussions in Washington over fiscal issues, a survey released on Friday showed.

    The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary reading of the overall index on consumer sentiment plunged to 74.5 in early December, the lowest level since August.

    It was far below November's figure of 82.7 and the median forecast of 82.4 among economists polled by Reuters.

    Read on
  • How conspiracy theorists want to steer us towards the cliff - Reuters Opinion from Zachary Karabell

    Consumers are feeling optimistic; sales are up; employment hasn’t much improved but neither is it getting worse; Washington is as dysfunctional as ever; and housing is showing significant life. Not the best of times, by any means, but not the worst. Yet, for some, that very calm says a storm is brewing, one of epic and perhaps even biblical proportions. Their opinion may not be a dominant chord, but it is prominent. And it may explain in part why our public debate about fiscal cliffs, taxes and the economic future can verge so quickly into dark, deep and destructive passions.

    Read on
  • Speaker Boehner, on Thursday's phone call with President Obama: "The phone call was pleasant, but was just more of the same...it's time for the president, if he's serious, to come back to us with a counter-offer."
  • Reuters: Boehner accuses Obama of "slow-walking economy" to the edge of fiscal cliff; renews call for the president to provide new offer

  • Audio: John Boehner's press conference on fiscal cliff situation (Friday)
  • REUTERS: BOEHNER SAYS CALL WITH OBAMA ON TUESDAY WAS OPEN AND HONEST, BUT $1.4 TRILLION IN NEW REVENUE CANNOT PASS HOUSE NOR SENATE
  • Boehner sees "serious differences" on resolving US fiscal 'cliff'

    WASHINGTON, Dec 12 (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said on Wednesday he still has "serious differences" with President Barack Obama over how to resolve the year-end "fiscal cliff" as top Republicans vowed to stay in Washington until just before - and after - Christmas to reach a deal.

    "I was born with a glass half full. I remain the most optimistic person in this town. But we've got some serious differences," Boehner told reporters at a news conference.
  • REUTERS: US SPEAKER BOEHNER CHARGES THAT OBAMA 'NOT SERIOUS ABOUT CUTTING SPENDING' TO GET FISCAL CLIFF DEAL, SAYS WHITE HOUSE APPEARS WILLING TO 'SLOW WALK OUR ECONOMY RIGHT UP TO - AND OVER - THE FISCAL CLIFF'
  • US Senate Leader says Boehner should yield to public on tax hikes

    WASHINGTON, Dec 13 - The top Republican in Congress should yield to public opinion and permit an increase in tax rates on the wealthiest Americans, U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said on Thursday.

    House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner "can't ignore the American people forever," Reid told a Capitol Hill news conference.

    He cited polls showing that most Americans favor raising taxes on the rich while extending tax cuts for the middle class as part of a possible deal to avert "the fiscal cliff," automatic tax hikes and budget cuts set to begin in 2013.

    "At some point, reality should set in," said Reid, flanked by fellow Senate Democratic leaders.
  • Boehner: Congress will never give up debt limit control

    WASHINGTON, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner said on Thursday there was "zero chance" that Congress would give up its control over raising the federal debt limit.

    In a news conference in which he expressed frustration that President Barack Obama has not met his demands for deeper spending cuts, Boehner dismissed any notions that Republicans would agree to Obama's request for permanent authority to increase borrowing.

    "Congress is never going to give up our ability to control the purse," Boehner said. "And the fact is, is that the debt limit ought to be used to bring fiscal sanity to Washington."
  • White House says Republicans not budging on tax rate hikes

    WASHINGTON, Dec 13 (Reuters) - The White House said on Thursday congressional Republicans have not budged on a key sticking point in negotiations to avert the looming "fiscal cliff" - the issue of raising tax rates on the top 2 percent of U.S. earners.

    "What we have not seen from the Republicans is any movement at all on the fundamental issue," White House spokesman Jay Carney said at a briefing.

    "We have not seen in our conversations or in offers any difference in the stated position by the speaker of the House when it comes to revenue," Carney said, referring to House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner.
  • Boehner plans to leave Washington amid 'fiscal cliff' stalemate

    WASHINGTON, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner plans to go home to Ohio on Friday, his office said, in a sign that there is no deal in sight to avert the looming "fiscal cliff."

    Spokesman Michael Steel added, however, that should President Barack Obama decide he needs to talk or meet with Boehner again, "Ohio has both cell phone service and airports - so ... it won't be a problem."

    Steel said Boehner - the top Republican in Congress - will likely return to Washington on Monday when the House completes a three-day recess.
  • Obama to meet Boehner on Thursday around 5:00 p.m. -official

    WASHINGTON, Dec 13 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama will meet Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner at the White House around 5 p.m. EST (2200 GMT) on Thursday to discuss the "fiscal cliff," a White House official told Reuters.
  • US House vote on fiscal cliff plan could be this week- Republican

    A vote on a U.S. House of Representatives Republican plan to avert the fiscal cliff could come as early as this week, according to a Republican lawmaker.

    Leader Eric Cantor told a Republican caucus meeting Tuesday morning that a vote on a Republican plan to avoid some $600 billion in taxes and spending could be this week, U.S. Representative Paul Broun told Reuters.

    Earlier, a congressional aide said the plan would prevent taxes from rising on incomes below $1 million.
  • Obama rejects Boehner backup plan on "fiscal cliff"

    WASHINGTON, Dec 18 (Reuters) - The White House on Tuesday rejected House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner's "fiscal cliff" backup proposal, saying it fails to meet President Barack Obama's call for a balanced approach and does not put enough of a tax burden on the wealthiest Americans.

    The White House weighed in after an aide to Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, said the the speaker would begin work on "Plan B" legislation, which would simply extend lower tax rates for incomes below $1 million a year, while negotiations proceed with the White House on a broader tax and spending deal.

    "He (Obama) is not willing to accept a deal that doesn't ask enough of the very wealthiest in taxes and instead shifts the burden to the middle class and seniors," Obama spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement. "The president is hopeful that both sides can work out remaining differences and reach a solution so we don't miss the opportunity in front of us today."
  • Boehner: US tax-hike blame on Obama if he ignores Republican plan

    President Barack Obama will be responsible for taxes rising on Americans if he does not "get serious" about a balanced deficit reduction plan or demand Senate passage of a Republican bill to prevent tax increases on all income below $1 million, House Speaker John Boehner charged on Wednesday.

    "Tomorrow the House will pass legislation to make permanent tax relief for nearly every American," Boehner said in a short on-camera statement. "Then the president will have a decision to make. He can call on the Senate Democrats to pass that bill, or he can be responsible for the largest tax increase in American history."
  • Obama threatens veto of Republican plan, fiscal talks turn sour by Matt Spetalnick and Mark Felsenthal

    Progress in talks in avoid a fiscal crisis appeared to stall on Wednesday as President Barack Obama accused Republicans of digging in their heels due to a personal grudge against him, while a Republican leader called the president "irrational."

    Obama and House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, have been negotiating a deal to avert harsh tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled for January that could trigger a recession, and Obama said he was puzzled over what was holding up the talks.

    Read more
  • Cantor: US House Republicans have votes for tax, spending 'Plan B'

    U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor said on Thursday that House Republicans will have enough votes to pass their "Plan B" alternative package of tax increases on income above $1 million coupled with spending cuts.

    Cantor told a news conference that the vote shows "concrete action" to deal with looming year-end "fiscal cliff" of tax hikes and spending cuts. He added that Republicans intend to stay in Washington after the vote to keep working on a fiscal cliff solution.
  • REUTERS: CANTOR SAYS REPUBLICANS DO NOT INTEND TO SEND MEMBERS HOME AFTER VOTE EXPECTED ON THURSDAY; WILL STAY TO ADDRESS FISCAL CLIFF
  • REUTERS: REID CALLS ON HOUSE REPUBLICANS TO PASS SENATE-APPROVED BILL TO SHIELD MIDDLE CLASS FROM TAX HIKES
  • REUTERS: U.S. SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID SAYS SENATE WILL NOT TAKE UP ANY 'FISCAL CLIFF' MEASURES HOUSE PLANS TO PASS ON THURSDAY
  • REUTERS: REID SAYS BOEHNER 'PLAN B' "NON-STARTER" FOR SENATE, HAS WASTED A WEEK OF NEGOTIATING TIME
  • REUTERS: REID SAYS US SENATE WILL RETURN ON DECEMBER 27 IF THERE IS NO PRE-CHRISTMAS DEAL ON FISCAL CLIFF
  • White House denounces Boehner 'Plan B' as 'exercise in futility'

    White House spokesman Jay Carney denounced a Republican "Plan B" aimed at avoiding the looming "fiscal cliff" on Thursday, calling it a "multi-day exercise in futility."

    At his daily news briefing, Carney said there remains "even at this late date" an opportunity for a grand compromise to avoid the automatic tax increases and spending cuts that will take place unless lawmakers reach a deal by year's end.

    A "Plan B" option pursued by House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Washington, "is a multi-day exercise in futility at a time when we don't have the luxury of exercises in futility."

    "It's an exercise in Republican vote-counting that will not result in anything for the American people," said Carney. He said President Barack Obama would veto it if ever it got to his desk, but doubted it would, since the proposal cannot pass the Democratic-led Senate. (Reporting By Steve Holland and Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Sandra Maler)
  • REUTERS: WHITE HOUSE SAYS OBAMA'S LAST OFFER ON FISCAL CLIFF WAS NOT NECESSARILY HIS FINAL OFFER BUT "THERE IS NOT MUCH FURTHER HE CAN GO"
  • REUTERS: U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER BOEHNER SAYS "NOT CONVINCED" THAT REPUBICAN ALTERNATIVE FISCAL CLIFF PLAN WILL DIE IN SENATE
  • 'Plan B' US 'fiscal cliff' bills clear hurdle in House

    The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday cleared the way for debate and votes later in the day on two Republican tax and spending-cut bills opposed by President Barack Obama.
    House Speaker John Boehner said he crafted the two bills in case broader "fiscal cliff" deficit reduction negotiations with Obama fail.

    The House allowed the full debate on the bills to go forward on a narrow, 219-197 vote.
  • REUTERS: BOEHNER SAYS TAX CODE MUST BE OVERHAULED TO SPUR ECONOMY AND CREATE JOBS; "HOW WE GET THERE? GOD ONLY KNOWS."
  • Salvaging the "fiscal cliff" talks - and reassuring shaky global financial markets - is likely to fall largely to President Barack Obama after Republicans abandoned the "Plan B" fix championed by Speaker of the House John Boehner.

    Read on

  • Boehner says Congress, Obama must keep working on US fiscal deal

    U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said on Friday that congressional leaders and President Barack Obama must try to move on from House Republicans' failed tax plan and work together to resolve the looming U.S. "fiscal cliff."

    Boehner said he was not concerned that Thursday's withdrawn vote threatened his position as speaker, but did not outline a clear path forward.

    Boehner said a divided Washington must come together to revamp the massive U.S. tax code in a way that helps spur economic growth. "How we get there, God only knows."
  • Analysis: Rating agencies won't cut U.S. on fiscal cliff - yet

    The stalled progress in the Washington budget battle may be rattling markets but the gridlock among policymakers will not move the rating agencies to downgrade the United States - yet.

    The U.S. credit rating is far from safe. All three major agencies have negative outlooks on the United States, which suffered its first downgrade in history last year when Standard & Poor's stripped it of its triple-A rating.

    Read more
  • After Boehner’s Plan B, crafting a new plan for Republicans by Reihan Salam

    House Speaker John Boehner has struggled for weeks to unite his fellow Republicans around a deal to avert the fiscal cliff. Having failed to find a package of tax increases and spending cuts acceptable to the Obama administration and the House GOP, he pivoted to a politically shrewd “Plan B” that would have extended all of the Bush-era tax cuts except for the high-income rate reductions that applied to income above a $1 million threshold. But as Boehner and his lieutenants worked to rally support, they found that they didn’t have the votes to pass “Plan B.” And so Boehner has suffered what is widely regarded as a humiliating defeat, one that has left many observers wondering whether he can survive for long as speaker.

    Read more
  • Wall Street falls on Fiscal Cliff setback by Gabriel Debenedetti

    U.S. stocks finished lower on Friday after a Republican plan to avoid the "fiscal cliff" failed to gain sufficient support on Thursday night, draining hopes that a deal would be reached before 2013.

    Still, stocks managed to rebound from the day's lows near the end of the session, and for the week, major averages still ended higher, with the S&P 500 gaining 1.2 percent.

    Read more
  • Class war in the new Gilded Age by Robert L. Borosage

    2012 was the first class-warfare election of our new Gilded Age. The first since the middle class has come to understand, in the words of new Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), that the “rules are rigged against it.” Business-as-usual may no longer be acceptable.

    But Washington didn’t get the memo. Even as ballots were still being counted in Palm Beach, Florida, the two parties lurched into the fierce debate over the fiscal cliff, the noxious brew of automatic spending cuts and expiring tax cuts that would poison the recovery. The debate, a dismal sequel to the 2011 debt ceiling melodrama, focuses on deficits not jobs. Once more, Republicans are threatening to blow up the recovery unless Democrats make otherwise unacceptable concessions. Once more, President Barack Obama looks for a “grand bargain,” seeking bipartisan support for terms divorced from opinion outside the beltway. Once more, what Scott Galupo at The American Conservative called the “clown show” of the House Republican caucus blows itself up.

    Read more
  • Obama met Senate Democratic leader Reid at White House-official

    WASHINGTON, Dec 21 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama met with Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid on the fiscal cliff at the White House on Friday, an administration official said.

    (Reporting By Tabassum Zakaria and Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Sandra Maler)
Powered by ScribbleLive
Photo

Iraqi Kurdish forces enter Syria to fight Islamic State

SURUC Turkey - A first group of Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters entered the besieged Syrian town of Kobani on Thursday to help push back Islamic State militants who have defied U.S. air strikes and threatened to massacre its Kurdish defenders. | Video