The White House made an offer to the House Republicans to avert the fiscal cliff but got a GOP cold shoulder, aides familiar with the talks said on Thursday.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the lead negotiator of President Barack Obama, presented House Speaker John Boehner a plan which would raise 1.6 trillion dollars in tax revenue.
In exchange for the added tax revenue, Democrats would give in on 400 billion dollars in spending cuts in entitlement programs. The offer also included a payroll tax increase and a permanent increase in the debt limit.
However, the plan was brushed off by the GOP congressmen as Boehner said right after the meeting with Geithner that "no substantive progress" has been made during last two weeks.
"I've made clear that we put real concessions on the line by putting revenues on the table tight up front. Unfortunately, many Democrats continue to rule out sensible spending cuts that must be part of any significant agreement that will reduce our deficit," Boehner added.
Despite apparent disappointment, he said he is still optimistic a deal can be reached.
Unless the Congress acts by the end of this year, a combination of tax hikes and sweeping spending cuts, dubbed the "fiscal cliff" and with a combined amount of about 600 billion dollars, is set to kick in. Democrats and Republicans have so far locked horns over how to reduce the nation's public debt hovering at 16.2 trillion dollars and tide over the "fiscal cliff."