Those same advisors voiced a strong preference for preserving the current tax levels, however, with 70% saying that the wealthiest Americans should not be taxed at a higher rate and 68% projecting that high-end rate increases would chill investment and saving.
Echoes of the advisors' optimism could be found amid the mutual charges of bad-faith negotiations on Capitol Hill. "I remain hopeful that productive conversations can be had in the days ahead, but the White House has to get serious," Boehner said
Boehner addressed reporters shortly after meeting with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Rob Nabors, the White House director of legislative affairs. At that meeting, Geithner and Nabors outlined a plan that would provide for a reported $1.6 trillion in revenue increases over 10 years, along with the commitment to trim some $400 billion from spending programs like Medicare next year. But the details of that plan were left unspecified, according to Boehner.
"I was hopeful we'd see a specific plan for cutting spending. We sought to find out today what the president really is willing to do," he said, calling that meeting and a phone call he had with the president on Wednesday "frank and direct," but ultimately unproductive.
"I'm disappointed in where we are. I'm disappointed in what's happened over the last couple of weeks," Boehner said.
On Friday, Don Seymour, Boehner's director of digital communications, described the proposal that Geithner outlined in harsher terms, calling it "a spectacularly unserious grab bag of tax rate hikes, 'stimulus'-style spending and other Democratic pipe dreams."
Carney, meantime, rejected the charge that the White House has failed to produce a credible proposal for spending cuts, pointing to the plan Obama submitted to Congress in September 2011 that outlined $4 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years.
Obama, meanwhile, has been seeking to amplify his message beyond the Beltway, tapping social media in an effort to gin up support for his position reminiscent of the campaign. On Friday, Obama had a scheduled a trip to a manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania where he planned to deliver a speech on the importance of extending the tax rates for the middle class.
Carney said that he expected Obama and White House staffers to continue discussions with congressional Republicans, but that no meetings are currently scheduled.