Boehner: Time for ‘Adult Leadership’ from WH on Fiscal Cliff

By Elizabeth Harrington | November 29, 2012 | 2:44 PM EST

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). (AP Photo)

( – Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the White House has to “get serious” about negotiations on averting the fiscal cliff, and noted that  it is time for “adult leadership.”

“All eyes are on the White House,” said Boehner during a Capitol Hill press conference on Thursday, contending that House Republicans have put their cards on the table by offering a combination of revenue generators -- in the form of closing tax loopholes -- and spending cuts in exchange for extending the Bush tax rates for all Americans.

“The economy is on the line and this is a moment for adult leadership,” Boehner said. “Campaign-style rallies and one-sided leaks to the press are not the way to get things done here in Washington.”

If the player does not load, please check that you are running the latest version of Adobe Flash Player.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit a manufacturing plant in Pennsylvania on Friday to make a pitch for his plan for the “rich to pay their fair share” by raising taxes on income earners making more than $250,000 a year.

Obama sent Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to the Capitol on Thursday to negotiate with Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on the impasse over tax rates.  Boehner, who spoke to reporters shortly following the meeting, called it “frank and direct.”

“I was hopeful we’d see a specific plan for cutting spending,” he said.  “We sought to find out today what the president really is willing to do.”

Talks with the White House have broken down since a productive meeting two weeks ago, Boehner said.  While he is  “hopeful” productive conversations can resume, the  “White House has to get serious,” he said, to address the expiring Bush era tax rates and the automatic defense and domestic spending cuts in place before the end of the year.

President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Boehner maintained his position that raising tax rates is not an option, but said “revenue is on the table,” referring to his post-election press conference in which he said he was open to new revenue in the form of closing tax loopholes and deductions.

“But revenue was only on the table if there were serious spending cuts as part of this agreement,” he said.  “It has to be part of the agreement.”

“We have a debt crisis!” Boehner said.  “We’re spending too much.  And while we’re willing to put revenue on the table we have to recognize it’s the spending that’s out of control.”

According to the U.S. Treasury Department, the current total national debt is $16.3 trillion.   In addition, the projected federal deficit for fiscal year 2012 is $1.2 trillion. In fiscal 2011, the deficit was $1.3 trillion and in fiscal 2010, $1.29 trillion.

In fiscal 2009 the deficit was $1.4 trillion, and in fiscal 2008, $458.6 billion. (President George W. Bush was still president for the first few months of FY 2009.)

In fiscal year 2007, the federal deficit was $161 billion.

The federal government's fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.