Boehner: Fiscal Cliff Negotiations At A 'Stalemate'

President Obama traveled to the the Philadelphia suburbs on Friday. He visited the maker of Tinker Toys and talked about the impact of tax hikes on consumers this Christmas season.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

I'm Melissa Block. And we begin this hour with this word - stalemate. That today from Republican House Speaker John Boehner describing the current state of budget talks with President Obama. As for the president, with little apparent progress inside Washington, he took his case on the road. He visited a toy factory in Pennsylvania, where he argued for extending middle class tax cuts while allowing rates to go up for the wealthiest Americans. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: President Obama toured the K'nex factory outside Philadelphia that makes popular Tinker Toy-style sets likely to show up under many a Christmas tree this year. Mr. Obama marveled at a set that lets children build their own model roller coaster and joked the factory's workers are Santa's extra elves.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I've been keeping my own naughty and nice list for Washington, so you should keep your eye on who gets some K'nex this year. There are going to be some members of Congress who get them and some who don't.

HORSLEY: So far, the president and congressional Republicans haven't had much nice to say about one another. House Speaker John Boehner complains the president's deficit-cutting proposal is not serious. Mr. Obama wants more than one and a half trillion dollars in additional taxes over the next decade. He said that plan is negotiable, but that he will insist on higher tax rates for the wealthy, a promise he made plain in his bid for reelection.

Unless the two sides cut a deal, taxes for everyone go up automatically in the New Year. Mr. Obama's urging lawmakers to extend low tax rates for the middle class, then deal separately with taxes for the top two percent.

OBAMA: The key is, though, that the American people have to be involved. You know, it's not going to be enough for me to just do this on my own.

HORSLEY: The K'nex CEO, who knows something about assembling working models, says he's confident the two sides will put together a deal. Even if his own taxes go up, he says, that's preferable to the big drain on consumer demand that would come from going over the fiscal cliff. Scott Horsley, NPR News.

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