President Obama with US House Speaker John Boehner
House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday offered a grim portrayal of the progress between Republicans and Democrats on a deal to avoid a series of automatic tax increases next year.
"No substantive progress has been made in the talks between the White House and the House during the past two weeks," Boehner said during a press briefing on Capitol Hill, signalling that little had changed since Republicans presented their framework for a deal earlier this month.
Both are parties are currently negotiating behind closed doors to produce a deal to avoid many of the tax increases. Boehner said Thursday that he continues to be open to the Democrats' call for policies that would increase tax revenue, but only in exchange for an overhaul of the federal government's expensive entitlement programs, reports The Ticket.
"Revenue is only on the table if there are serious spending cuts that are part of this agreement," Boehner said.
Boehner, an Ohio Republican, confirmed that he spoke to President Barack Obama over the phone Wednesday about the state of the negotiations, and characterized the conversation as "straight forward," but did not discuss details.
Moments after Boehner made his remarks, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid held his own press conference with other Democratic Senate leaders, where he said that Democrats had already made their proposal and were waiting for Republicans to respond.
When asked to respond to Boehner's comments that he would do nothing until Democrats put forth a new proposal, Reid replied: "I don't understand his brain."