Obama sees fiscal deal in a week if Republicans move on taxes

WASHINGTON Thu Dec 6, 2012 12:06am IST

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction symposium at the National Defense University in Washington, December 3, 2012. REUTERS/Larry Downing

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction symposium at the National Defense University in Washington, December 3, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama told business leaders on Wednesday that a "fiscal cliff" deal was possible within about a week if Republicans compromise on taxes, and he warned lawmakers he would not engage in another debt ceiling standoff.

Obama, speaking to the Business Roundtable group of chief executives, said Republican leaders in Congress had to accept the reality that tax rates must rise on the wealthiest Americans to achieve a fiscal deal.

"We've some movement in the last several days among some Republicans, I think there's a recognition that maybe they can accept some rate increases as long as it's combined with serious entitlement reform and additional spending cuts," he said.

"If we can get the leadership on the Republican side to take that framework, acknowledge that reality, then the numbers actually aren't that far apart. Another way of putting this is we can probably solve this in about a week. It's not that tough," Obama said.

Obama won re-election last month largely on a pledge to raise tax rates for the top two percent of U.S. earners. The White House and Republicans in Congress are at a stalemate over how to avoid a "fiscal cliff" of spending cuts and tax hikes that starts to take effect in January.

Republicans say raising taxes on the wealthy would hurt a still weak U.S. economy.

Hoping to avoid another standoff over the U.S. debt ceiling, the president made clear he would not engage in a fight that tied concessions from the White House to lawmakers' votes to avoid a default.

"If Congress in any way suggests that they are going to tie negotiations to debt ceiling votes and take us to the brink of default once again as part of a budget negotiation ... I will not play that game," he said.

A standoff between the White House and congressional Republicans in 2011 brought the country perilously close to defaulting on its debt and resulted in an embarrassing debt rating downgrade for the United States.

Obama also said the global economy was soft and Europe would be "in the doldrums for quite some time."

(Reporting by Jeff Mason, Mark Felsenthal, Steve Holland and Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Jackie Frank and Vicki Allen)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

India Economy

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Reliance Projects

Reliance Projects

Exclusive: Reliance plans $13 billion projects including new refinery.  Full Article 

Chopper Deal

Chopper Deal

India nears $2.5 billion deal for Boeing military helicopters.  Full Article 

Coal Scam

Coal Scam

CBI drops coal scam case against Kumar Mangalam Birla.  Full Article 

Low Stocks

Low Stocks

Indian power station coal stocks lowest since 2012 blackouts.  Full Article 

Markets This Month

Markets This Month

Tata Motors, M&M top Sensex gainers  Full Article 

Google Drones

Google Drones

Google is testing unmanned drones to deliver anything from dog food to medicine.  Video 

#RiceBucketChallenge

#RiceBucketChallenge

In India, rice replaces ice in bucket challenge.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage