"Right now, I would say we're nowhere, period. We're nowhere," House Speaker John Boehner, R-OH, stressed on Fox News.
Last week it wasn't clear if a deal would be reached. This weekend the chances looked downright dismal.
Boehner, who is spearheading negotiations with U.S. President Barack Obama, told reporters last week that "no substantive progress has been made in the talks between the White House and the House over the last two weeks."
The Speaker's meetings last Wednesday with the president and Thursday's with U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner were also fruitless, Boehner acknowledged. By Friday, Boehner said both sides were at a stalemate.
"I've got to tell you that I'm disappointed in where we are and disappointed in what's happened over the last couple of weeks," Boehner admitted.
He detailed on Fox News, "They won the election, (but) they must have forgotten that Republicans continue to hold the majority in the House. But the president's idea of a negotiation is, "Roll over and do what I ask.'"
The two sides, just rows apart on Capitol Hill, might as well be thousands of miles away.
Congressional aides, tracking the back-and-forth negotiations, shared with the Washington Post that it is growing increasingly more likely that no deal will be inked in time to avoid the fiscal cliff.
Or, as Sen. Lindsey O. Graham, R-S.C., said on CBS's "Face the Nation," "I think we're going over the cliff."
Why There's Still No Fiscal Cliff DealWith several lawmakers making the rounds on news shows this past weekend, there is plenty of fodder to back that view.
Geithner said on CNN's "State of the Union" that he is hopeful that falling off the cliff can be avoided, but noted the Bush-era tax cuts for top earners have to be shelved.
"What we're not going to do is extend those tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans," said Geithner.
The GOP last week rejected Geithner's tax proposal outright, and on Sunday Boehner reiterated he was simply "flabbergasted" by the plan.
Some 230 GOP representatives and 40 senators have vowed to oppose tax increases.
President Obama and his team are calling for a $1.6 trillion tax increase, $500 billion in infrastructure spending, and new power to raise the federal debt ceiling. Republicans balked at the proposals.
What Republicans are willing to do to raise revenue is close tax loopholes and end deductions.
The president's plan to increase taxes for America's wealthiest (who will see their tax bill rise by 7% or roughly $120,000), while leaving taxes unchanged for middle-income individuals, is expected to bring in $1 trillion in revenue over the next ten years, an amount Republicans argue will barely move the monstrous $16.4 trillion and growing federal deficit.
Plus, the GOP maintains, the tax hike will threaten job growth and consumer spending, a wallop that will further bruise the already seriously sagging U.S. economy.
The fiscal cliff is already casting a long shadow over hiring, business expansion, and financial markets.
President Obama said in a tweet on #MY2K, a Twitter handle set up so Americans could share their views on the fiscal cliff situation, that he hopes to reach a deal by Dec. 25.
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