Obama calls for higher taxes on wealthy, Boehner says GOP will continue to oppose the idea


US Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) (C) speaks as Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) (L) and House Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) listen following a Republican Conference meeting on Capitol Hill on Dec. 16, 2011.


Alex Wong

President Barack Obama invited congressional leaders to the White House next week for talks on the fiscal cliff. But when it comes to taxing the wealthy, Obama says he won't compromise. "We can't just cut our way to prosperity," Obama said today, the Wall Street Journal reported. "We're serious about reducing the deficit. We have to combine spending cuts with revenue, and that means asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more in taxes."

Obama invited House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi for talks on the matter.

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In saying that we cannot "cut our way to prosperity," Obama was referring to $64 billion in automatic spending cuts that will take effect in January if a debt deal cannot be reached, as NBC explained. Those cuts are mandated by the Budget Control Act that Obama signed into law last year. Obama said that he is "open to new ideas" to avoid the fiscal cliff, but maintained that more taxes on the wealthiest Americans must be part of the plan. In his speech, Obama defined "the wealthiest Americans" as single taxpayers earning more than $200,000 a year and couples with annual earnings in excess of $250,000.

Meanwhile, at his own news conference earlier today, Boehner called for a “simpler, cleaner, fairer tax code,” Bloomberg News reported, and said that he would continue to oppose taxes on the wealthy. 

And in an interview with ABC News, Boehner said that raising tax rates is “unacceptable” and added: “frankly, it couldn’t even pass the House."