Boehner mum on detailed fiscal cliff possibilities

Susan Walsh/AP

This is the month President Obama must show he can engage the Congress and come up with bipartisan solutions to address the nation’s immediate fiscal crisis, House Speaker John Boehner said on Friday.

But the Ohio Republican refused to comment on specifics of how he thinks the immediate fiscal cliff issues should be dealt with, other than once again calling for a one-year extension of tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year. He offered no ideas for replacing or avoiding the military and other sequester cuts set to hit on Jan. 2.

“No, I really don’t want to do that,” said Boehner. “I don’t want to limit the options, or limit the options available to the White House.”

The news conference was the second time this week the House’s top Republican went public to put the onus on Obama to lead in devising a way to head off the impending fiscal cliff of tax increases and so-called sequester spending cuts that would combine to further damage the fragile economy. And beyond those concerns, the Treasury Department has said the nation will reach its $16.4 trillion borrowing limit by the end of this year.

Boehner did mention that House Republicans had passed legislation that would replace the sequester cuts with cuts elsewhere, such as to social safety net programs like food stamps, but that proposal is not going to fly with Democrats.

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