Nightly News | December 05, 2012
>>> here is some indication of how partisan and paralyzed washington is these days. it was big news this afternoon when the white house let it be known that the president and speaker john boehner had talked on the phone. but at the same time treasury secretary tim geithner told cnbc that president obama is prepared to take a dive off the so-called fiscal cliff if republicans don't agree to take hikes on the richest americans . and so we welcome peter alexander , at the ranks of the white house correspondents , with a look at all of it.
>> reporter: brian, good evening, on the north lawn , the phone call marks the first time speaker john boehner and the president spoke in a week, that is hardly something to celebrate, but they wouldn't characterize what they caused in the phone call as the country barrels towards the fiscal cliff. with no talks and no progress to avert the looming fiscal cliff, you could say the house has left the building, streaming out of the capitol. tomorrow's session cancelled. with only three work days left this year, they are often criticized. just 16 votes. across the country, rising frustration, americans asking why the holdup. and what will their taxes look like in 2013 .
>> maybe instead of getting my sister two things, you give one thing, you have to give pause on what could happen next year.
>> reporter: today, president obama and house republicans are locked in a politicalstair staredown.
>> we can probably solve it in a week, it is not that tough, we need that breakthrough that says we need to do a balanced plan.
>> although the president seems obsessed about raising taxes on you, we feel it is not the right direction to go.
>> reporter: it comes down to a tug of war over taxes. the president's proposal, increasing rates on americans making more than $250,000, to raise 1.6 trillion over a decade. house speaker john boehner wants to cut the number in half.
>> there are ways to limit deductions, close loopholes, and have the same people pay more of their money to the federal government . without raising tax rates .
>> reporter: and the president today offered this warning to republicans. amid reports they may accept mr. obama's plan to extend tax cuts for most americans while allowing them to go up for the richest, and start the fight all over again during debt limit talks early next year.
>> that is a bad strategy for america. it is a bad strategy for your businesses. and it is not a game that i will play.
>> reporter: and brian, tonight, the white house is preparing in case the country does go over that fiscal cliff, budget officials have asked all federal agencies for information that they need in case of possible plans in case of those automatic spending cuts that could go in place in just 27 days.
>> peter alexander at the white house for us tonight. thank you.