Obama, GOP leaders lay down markers on budget deal

  • Speaker of the House John Boehner, Ohio Republican, talks at the Capitol in Washington on Nov. 7, 2012, about the elections and the unfinished business of Congress. (Associated Press)Speaker of the House John Boehner, Ohio Republican, talks at the Capitol in Washington on Nov. 7, 2012, about the elections and the unfinished business of Congress. (Associated Press)
  • Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Nov. 7, 2012, the day after President Obama was re-elected. U.S. investors dumped stocks and turned their focus to a world of problems, including a "fiscal cliff" of tax increases and spending cuts at home and a deepening recession in Europe. (Associated Press)Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Nov. 7, 2012, the day after President Obama was re-elected. U.S. investors dumped stocks and turned their focus to a world of problems, including a "fiscal cliff" of tax increases and spending cuts at home and a deepening recession in Europe. (Associated Press)
  • **FILE** President Obama listens Feb. 20, 2009, as Vice President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House. (Associated Press)**FILE** President Obama listens Feb. 20, 2009, as Vice President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House. (Associated Press)
  • A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange looks at images of the presidential contenders on Nov. 7, 2012, the day after President Obama was re-elected. U.S. investors dumped stocks and turned their focus to a world of problems, including a "fiscal cliff" of tax increases and spending cuts at home and a deepening recession in Europe. (Associated Press)A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange looks at images of the presidential contenders on Nov. 7, 2012, the day after President Obama was re-elected. U.S. investors dumped stocks and turned their focus to a world of problems, including a "fiscal cliff" of tax increases and spending cuts at home and a deepening recession in Europe. (Associated Press)
  • An investor looks at the stock price monitor at a private securities company in Shanghai on Nov. 8, 2012. Asian stock markets tumbled after a ratings agency threatened to downgrade the U.S. if a solution to the so-called fiscal cliff isn't negotiated among lawmakers and newly re-elected President Obama. (Associated Press)An investor looks at the stock price monitor at a private securities company in Shanghai on Nov. 8, 2012. Asian stock markets tumbled after a ratings agency threatened to downgrade the U.S. if a solution to the so-called fiscal cliff isn't negotiated among lawmakers and newly re-elected President Obama. (Associated Press)
  • Luke Scanlon (left) of MND Partners Inc., works Nov. 7, 2012, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York. (Associated Press)Luke Scanlon (left) of MND Partners Inc., works Nov. 7, 2012, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York. (Associated Press)
  • A man stands outside a securities firm in Tokyo on Nov. 8, 2012. Asian stock markets tumbled after a ratings agency threatened to downgrade the U.S. if a solution to the so-called fiscal cliff isn't negotiated among lawmakers and newly re-elected President Obama. (Associated Press)A man stands outside a securities firm in Tokyo on Nov. 8, 2012. Asian stock markets tumbled after a ratings agency threatened to downgrade the U.S. if a solution to the so-called fiscal cliff isn't negotiated among lawmakers and newly re-elected President Obama. (Associated Press)
  • A television feed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shows President Obama (left) and his daughter, Malia, on Nov. 7, 2012, the day after he was re-elected. U.S. investors dumped stocks and turned their focus to a world of problems, including a "fiscal cliff" of tax increases and spending cuts at home and a deepening recession in Europe. (Associated Press)A television feed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shows President Obama (left) and his daughter, Malia, on Nov. 7, 2012, the day after he was re-elected. U.S. investors dumped stocks and turned their focus to a world of problems, including a "fiscal cliff" of tax increases and spending cuts at home and a deepening recession in Europe. (Associated Press)
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Biden said there was “a clear sort of mandate about people coming much closer to our view about how to deal with tax policy,” adding that “there’s all kinds of potential to be able to reach a rational, principled compromise.”

Boehner, for his part, said that for Obama to get support for new revenues “the president must be willing to reduce spending and shore up the entitlement programs that are the primary drivers of our debt.”

“We aren’t seeking to impose our will on the president. We’re asking him to make good on his ‘balanced’ approach,” the Ohio Republican said on Capitol Hill.

The reference to a balanced approach to deficit reduction reflected Obama’s campaign-long call for higher taxes on incomes above $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples. That was something Boehner made plain he opposes.

The House speaker said conditions on higher taxes would include a revamped tax code to make it cleaner and fairer, fewer loopholes and lower rates for all, adding that “we’re closer than we think to the critical mass needed legislatively to get tax reform done.”

Boehner did not specify what loopholes House Republicans might consider trimming.

Obama spent a rare morning off Wednesday at his home on Chicago’s South Side, then stopped at campaign headquarters to meet privately with staff to thank them for their work in the long, grueling campaign. Workers climbed on top of desks to get a good look at the president.

Obama and his family then flew back to Washington on Air Force One. The president appeared to be in a good mood, racing younger daughter Sasha up the steps, then calling out “Come on slowpokes” to wife Michelle and older daughter Malia.

Associated Press writers Julie Pace, Ken Thomas and Andrew Taylor contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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