WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is pressing for public support Monday to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, a day after he and House Speaker John Boehner met one-on-one for the first time to discuss ways to avert the fiscal cliff.
Neither side provided details of the weekend meeting at the White House. But with just three weeks until a flurry of tax hikes and spending cuts start taking effect, the mere fact that the meeting happened was seen as progress.
Negotiations continue to center on whether to raise tax rates for the top 2 percent of income earners. Obama, in a campaign-style speech to auto workers in Michigan on Monday, is expected to stress that he won't sign a deal that doesn't include higher tax rates for the wealthiest Americans.
While Republicans have long opposed that approach, some GOP lawmakers are suggesting the party relent on taxes in order to win concessions from the president on changes to benefit programs such as Medicare. Still, Boehner's office indicated Monday that the speaker wasn't ready to take that step.
The Republican offer made last week remains the Republican offer, said Brendan Buck, a Boehner spokesman. He was referring to a GOP plan that offered $800 billion in new revenue over the next decade through reducing or eliminating unspecified tax breaks on upper-income earners, but not by raising tax rates.
The White House also showed no new signs of flexibility following Obama and Boehner's one-on-one meeting.