The Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, is meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House Thursday with the fiscal cliff deadline hanging ominously over the economy.
Both the White House and the Republican-led Congress have rejected each other's offers and counteroffers.
All sides must agree on a package of budget cuts and tax increases by the end of the year or they will kick in automatically. Many economists say this will hurt the middle class and plunge the country back into recession.
President Obama insists the wealthiest two percent of Americans pay more in taxes. He has said his reelection last month shows many Americans agree with him. Congressional conservatives demand deeper spending cuts with no tax increases for anyone. They say the president's plan would raise taxes on small businesses and kill jobs.
Boehner said before Thursday's meeting that it is clear the president is not serious about cutting spending. He said the White House is walking the economy right up to the cliff.
White House spokesman Jay Carney calls the Republican proposal “fantasy economics” — unspecified spending cuts combined with permanent tax cuts for the wealthy.