U.S. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that he and the House Speaker John Boehner need to bridge a gap of "a few hundred billion dollars" on the "fiscal cliff" talks and expressed hope to strike a deal before Christmas.
"I've said I'm willing to make some cuts. What separates us is probably a few hundred billion dollars," Obama said at a news conference.
"I remain not only open to conversations, but I remain eager to get something done. I'd like to get it done before Christmas," he added.
The comments came after the White House announced that Obama would veto a backup plan proposed by Boehner on Tuesday, which would extend the current lower tax rates for households earning less than $1 million a year.
The White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said Boehner's plan places "too big of a burden on the middle class, seniors, and the most vulnerable Americans while asking too little of the wealthiest Americans." It would give millionaires a tax break of $50,000.
Boehner said on Tuesday that he would move to "Plan B", a proposal for avoiding the looming fiscal woes if his attempts to forge a broader deal with the White House fail. Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives could vote on Thursday on the bill.
In his latest offer, Obama said he would accept a deal that raise the threshold for tax hikes for a household's annual income to $400,000 from $250,000 he initially insisted.
As time dwindling for the "fiscal cliff" talks, Obama and Boehner made concessions on their long-held positions and tried to narrow disagreements over numbers.
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