FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2012 file photo, fog obscures the Capitol dome on Capitol Hill in Washington. Big tax increases will hit millions of families and businesses a lot sooner than many realize if Congress and the White House don't agree on a plan to avoid the year-end fiscal cliff of automatic tax increases and government spending cuts. In fact, they already have. More than 70 tax breaks enjoyed by individuals and businesses already expired at the beginning of this year. If Congress doesn't extend them, a typical middle class family could get a $4,000 tax hike when they file their 2012 returns next spring, according to a private analysis. At the same time, businesses could lose dozens of tax breaks they have enjoyed for years. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
WASHINGTON (AP) - The "fiscal cliff" talks are at a partisan standoff.
President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner are swapping barbed political charges. But they're carefully leaving room for further negotiations on an elusive deal to head off year-end tax increases and spending cuts.
At the White House today, Obama said Republicans should "peel off the war paint" and take the deal he's offering. Obama noted that he won re-election with a call for higher taxes on the wealthy. But he added that the nation aches for conciliation, not a contest of ideologies, after last week's mass murder at a Connecticut elementary school.
But he drew a quick retort from Boehner when the White House threatened to veto a fallback bill drafted by House Republicans that would prevent tax increases for all but million-dollar earners. The Ohio Republican said the president will bear responsibility for "the largest tax increase in history" if he makes good on that threat.
Boehner expressed confidence the Republicans' narrow so-called Plan B bill would clear the House tomorrow despite opposition from some conservative, anti-tax dissidents, but a cold reception awaits the measure in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
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