The Straits Times
Published on Dec 01, 2012

Obama cranks up 'fiscal cliff' pressure, Boehner says talks stalemated


HATFIELD, Pennsylvania, (REUTERS) - President Barack Obama turned up the pressure in "fiscal cliff" talks on Friday, hitting the road to drum up support for his drive to raise taxes on the wealthy and warning Americans that Republicans were offering them "a lump of coal" for Christmas.

In a visit to a Pennsylvania toy factory, Mr Obama portrayed congressional Republicans as Scrooges who risked sending the country over the fiscal cliff rather than strike a deal to avert the tax increases and spending cuts that begin in January unless Congress intervenes.

In Washington, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner declared a stalemate in the talks and said Mr Obama's plan to raise taxes on the rich was the wrong approach.

"There is a stalemate. Let's not kid ourselves," the Ohio Republican said. "Right now we are almost nowhere."