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Boehner, Obama still at odds on budget

July 9, 2011 at 9:54 PM

WASHINGTON, July 9 (UPI) -- U.S. House Speaker John Boehner said late Saturday budget reduction talks with the White House may be downsized to avoid the impasse over taxes.

The Ohio Republican said in a statement posted on his Web site that efforts to reach agreement on up to $4 trillion in cuts ahead of the Aug. 2 deadline for raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling have been unsuccessful. "Despite good-faith efforts to find common ground, the White House will not pursue a bigger debt reduction agreement without tax hikes," Boehner said. "I believe the best approach may be to focus on producing a smaller measure, based on the cuts identified in the [Vice President Joe] Biden-led negotiations, that still meets our call for spending reforms and cuts greater than the amount of any debt limit increase."

Biden had negotiated about $2 trillion in cuts.

Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, issued a statement Saturday evening saying President Barack Obama will make his case to congressional leaders Sunday.

"The president believes that solving our fiscal problems is an economic imperative," Pfeiffer said. "But in order to do that, we cannot ask the middle-class and seniors to bear all the burden of higher costs and budget cuts. We need a balanced approach that asks the very wealthiest and special interests to pay their fair share as well, and we believe the American people agree.

"Both parties have made real progress thus far, and to back off now will not only fail to solve our fiscal challenge, it will confirm the cynicism people have about politics in Washington. The president believes that now is the moment to rise above that cynicism and show the American people that we can still do big things."

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