ANALYSIS: The Cliff Creeps Closer

ANALYSIS: The Cliff Creeps Closer

ByABC News
November 30, 2012, 9:34 AM

Nov. 30, 2012 -- "Absurd" -- that's the word one top Republican Hill aide used to describe the plan that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner presented to GOP leaders yesterday to avoid the fiscal cliff.

And an aide to House Speaker Boehner described the White House's offer as "completely unrealistic" and "a break with reality."

Meanwhile, a top Democratic insider complained to ABC's Jonathan Karl that "the Republicans have taken to screaming at us."

Sources familiar with the phone call Wednesday night between Speaker Boehner and President Obama -- which lasted 30 minutes -- told Karl it was as "unproductive" and "blunt." One source said the president did most of the taking, explaining why he will insist that tax rates go up.

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"No substantive progress has been made over the last two weeks," said House Speaker John Boehner at a press conference yesterday. "It's time for the president and Congressional Democrats to tell the American people what spending cuts they're really willing to make."

With few signs of optimism in Washington and just 33 days before the end-of-the-year fiscal cliff deadline, President Obama is taking his show on the road.

ABC's Mary Bruce notes that the president is bypassing the wrangling between both sides and traveling to Hatfield, Pa. today where he will tour a toy manufacturing facility and speak to workers there.

According to the White House, "the President will continue making the case for action by visiting a business that depends on middle class consumers during the holiday season, and could be impacted if taxes go up on 98 percent of Americans at the end of the year."

FROM THE SPEAKER'S OFFICE: Boehner's office gives six reasons why the Obama administration's fiscal cliff offer won't fly:

"1) Twice the Taxes: It's absolutely true that the President ran on a tax plan of raising the top two rates. That's what Americans heard from him. That yields about $800 billion in new tax revenue. He just asked for twice that. 2) Not Even the Votes in His Own Party: The Senate was barely able to pass a bill with $800 billion in new tax revenue a few months ago (51 votes). There is no chance there are votes in the Senate for anything close to $1.6 trillion. 3) Unbalanced: The President also ran on a so-called balanced approach. Apparently his idea of balance is four times as much revenue as spending cuts. 4) No Net Spending Cuts: The spending cuts they are offering (which come later) are wiped out by all the new goodies he's also requesting. (stimulus, UI, payroll, housing, etc). 5) Debt Limit Pipe Dream: Permanently doing away with the debt limit? Come on. Guess what - the debt limit is actually very popular. Raising it to infinity is not. 6) We're Far From Opening Bids: Even as an "opening bid," this offer would be ludicrous. But we're way past that. We had about seven weeks to resolve this. Three of those weeks are gone, and this is what he comes with?"

FROM THE WHITE HOUSE: White House spokesman Josh Earnest: "Right now, the only thing preventing us from reaching a deal that averts the fiscal cliff and avoids a tax hike on 98 percent of Americans is the refusal of Congressional Republicans to ask the very wealthiest individuals to pay higher tax rates. The President has already signed into law over $1 trillion in spending cuts and we remain willing to do tough things to compromise, and it's time for Republicans in Washington to join the chorus of other voices -- from the business community to middle class Americans across the country -- who support a balanced approach that asks more from the wealthiest Americans."