The Straits Times
Published on Dec 20, 2012

Obama demands Republicans compromise on fiscal cliff


WASHINGTON (AFP) - United States (US) President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that he and Republicans had narrowed differences over how to avoid the "fiscal cliff" to "a few hundred million dollars," and urged his adversaries to compromise on a year-end deal.

"At some point there's got to be... a recognition on the part of my Republican friends that, you know, take the deal," Mr Obama told reporters as the two sides struggled to come to agreement on how to prevent tax hikes on all Americans and federal spending cuts that kick in beginning Jan 1.

Mr Obama had campaigned for months on a platform of extending Bush-era tax breaks for households making under US$250,000 (S$30,500) a year, as part of a 10-year deficit reduction plan that would entail raising tax revenues and slashing federal spending. He has since bumped the threshold up to US$400,000.

Republicans, led by House Speaker John Boehner, presented a counter-offer of extending the tax breaks for everyone making under US$1 million. Both offers have been summarily rejected, although each side says talks are ongoing.