Obama to celebrate holidays with GOP
President Obama met with congressional leaders met to discuss ways to avoid entering a so-called "fiscal cliff" at the beginning of next year. Nancy Cordes reports on the progress of these talks.
For the fourth holiday season in a row, Congress and the White House are in the midst of a heated debate on a strict deadline -- and for the fourth straight year, and President Obama will host members of Congress at the White House for a holiday reception amid the tension.
As both sides dig in on how to deal with the "fiscal cliff," CBS News has confirmed House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor will attend tonight's reception at the White House. It could very well be an opportunity for Boehner and Cantor to exchange some words with the president about the ongoing negotiations. Or they could ignore the topic completely.
White House spokesperson Jay Carney refused to provide any additional details on the attendants or who the president plans to talk to, but he said the president "looks forward to the event tonight."
The president and House Republicans should be used to the current dynamic: in December 2009, Congress was wrestling with Mr. Obama's health care plan; in 2010 it was the debate on whether to extend the Bush-era tax cuts; and in 2011, the debate was around the payroll tax holiday.
Tonight's reception comes as the Obama administration and congressional Republicans continue their public sparring over the "fiscal cliff." The talks to avert a series of tax hikes and spending cuts by the end of the year appear to be at a crucial point as both sides are far apart on the issue of tax rates, entitlement reform and spending cuts.
Carney defended the president's offer Monday, telling reporters that the it is up to the Republicans to propose a counteroffer.
"We haven't seen anything from the Republicans that are credible and specific," Carney said.
He reiterated Mr. Obama's proposal of $1.6 trillion in tax increases, obtained primarily by extending tax cuts for all wage earners except those making more than $250,000 per year. His plan is coupled with $600 billion in spending cuts, most of it from Medicare, the White House says.
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