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December 19, 2012

Obama: House Republicans are playing politics on fiscal cliff

President Obama accused House Republicans on Wednesday of letting their animosity toward him prevent them from approving a deal to avert the nation’s imminent fiscal crisis even though the two sides had been close to a compromise days ago.

“They keep on finding ways to say no as opposed to finding ways to say yes,” Obama said at a midday news conference at the White House. “I don’t know how much of that just has to do with, you know, it is very hard for them to say yes to me. But, you know, at some point, you know, they’ve got to take me out of it and think about their voters and think about what’s best for the country.”

Obama and House Speaker John Boehner have been negotiating behind closed to meet an end-of-the-year deadline to prevent another recession. On Monday, they seemed close to a deal. But talks stalled the next day after Boehner introduced a backup plan that would raises taxes for only those who earn more than a $1 million.

Obama said he plans to reach out to congressional leaders of both parties in the coming days to “find out what is holding this thing up” after he said he met Boehner more than half way.

“Frankly up until about a couple of days ago, if you looked at it, the Republicans in the House and Speaker Boehner I think were in a position to say: ‘We’ve gotten a fair deal.’ Obama said. “There’s been a lot of posturing up on Capitol Hill instead of just going ahead and getting stuff done. We’ve been wasting a lot of time.”

The two had begun to coalesce around a plan that would raise taxes for households with annual incomes of more than $400,000, cut spending $2.1 billion and apply a less-generous measure of inflation to Social Security and other programs. But Republicans are skeptical of the White House’s calculations on budget cuts, raising questions about the savings on interest.

“What I’ve said is that in order to arrive at a compromise, I am prepared to do some very tough things, some things that some Democrats don’t want to see and probably there are a few Republicans who don’t want to see either,” Obama said.

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