Fiscal cliff discussions at a stalemate

By: NBC News Email
By: NBC News Email

Time to resolve the budget battle on Capitol Hill is running out- with just four weeks until the New Year.

And it's not looking good-- lawmakers say they're at a stand-still over avoiding the budget cuts and tax increases known as the fiscal cliff.

Democrats are starting this week, waiting for Republicans to make a counter offer after Republicans largely rejected the Democratic plan for cuts and tax increases last week.

Efforts to save the average American from paying roughly $2,000 more in taxes a year is turning into a bruising battle.

"We're nowhere, period. We're nowhere," said House Speaker John Boehner, (R) Ohio.

Democrats are accusing Republicans of "political theater."

Last week, the President proposed more than $1 trillion in tax increases and $600 billion in budget cuts over the next ten years.

Republicans rejected it.

"That offer -- they must think John Boehner is Santa Claus, because that is a Christmas wish list, not a real proposal," said Rep. Tom Cole, (R) Oklahoma.

Now, the president's lead negotiator says this week, it's Republicans' turn to counter-offer.

"If they'd like to go beyond that or do it differently, they need to tell us what they propose," said Tim Geithner, Treasury Secretary.

House speaker John Boehner says he's already offered dozens of alternatives. "You can cap deductions at a percent of income. It'd be one way to get there. You can eliminate certain deductions for those -- the wealthiest in our country," said House Speaker John Boehner, (R) Ohio.

Amidst signs of a stalemate, there are also tones of compromise.

A growing number of lawmakers are saying it's time put politics aside.

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