David Axelrod, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, said House Speaker John Boehner’s comments on the fiscal cliff facing the U.S. government at the end of the year are “encouraging.”
Without new legislation, $607 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts -- evenly divided between military and domestic spending -- will take effect starting in January. The resulting so-called fiscal cliff stems from a standoff over policy between the political parties, with lawmakers and Obama unable to agree on how to curb soaring U.S. debt through a mix of tax-code changes and cuts to federal spending.
Obama and Boehner each spoke after the Nov. 6 elections on the need to avert the policy shifts in January, with both expressing willingness to compromise while also reiterating their previous positions. Boehner pointed to the possibility of closing tax loopholes to help generate more revenue, although he rejected the idea of raising rates on the wealthy.
Boehner “said he wasn’t going to get into details about what he would or wouldn’t accept,” Axelrod said on the CBS “Face the Nation” program. “He didn’t want to foreclose discussions and that was a positive sign. ” Axelrod also said the House speaker’s “rhetoric has been encouraging.”