The Straits Times
Published on Dec 08, 2012

Tempers fray as US moves closer to fiscal cliff


WASHINGTON (AFP) - House Speaker John Boehner accused the White House on Friday of having "wasted another week" in talks to avert a fiscal crisis that could plunge the world's biggest economy into recession.

Holding a press conference to give a status update before the weekend as the clock ticks down to potential economic disaster, Mr Boehner said there had been "no progress" and laid the blame squarely on President Barack Obama.

The White House shot back that a deal could be reached in "15 minutes" if Mr Boehner agreed to raise taxes on the rich, a major sticking-point in the high-stakes negotiations to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff."

Discussions - including a mid-week phone call between Mr Boehner and President Barack Obama - have stalled on how to avoid the looming tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect in January, and Mr Boehner accused the White House of recklessly pushing the country to the fiscal brink.