Back in Washington, though, congressional Republicans were in no mood to laugh, as the prospects for a deal with the White House looked bleak. At a press conference, Republican House Speaker John Boehner said the negotiations were at a “stalemate.”
Representative Boehner added that for the past three weeks, he had been “very guarded” in his comments, because he didn’t want to make it harder to find common ground.
“When I came out the day after the election and made it clear that Republicans will put revenue on the table, I took a great risk,” Boehner said.
But when the White House put out a plan Thursday calling for $1.6 trillion in new taxes over 10 years – double what Boehner was willing to consider in July 2011 – in addition to less than $400 billion in cuts, Boehner called it “not a serious proposal.”
“So right now we're almost nowhere,” the speaker said.
“The speaker put new revenues on the table just after the election and said: ‘We get it. The president won his reelection; we won our reelection. We have to now come together,’ ” Representative Cantor said.
Obama has been saying all along he’s willing to compromise on fiscal matters, but his opening bid didn’t reflect that. And that, analysts say, is a demonstration of how Obama has evolved as president. Early in his presidency, he had a tendency to start a major negotiation with what he considered a compromise position – for example, putting Republican-pleasing tax cuts in the stimulus package of early 2009 and not pushing for a “public option” in health-care reform.