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Boehner: 'Raising Tax Rates Is Unacceptable'

The battle lines over the "fiscal cliff" are being drawn in Washington.

In an interview with ABC News, Speaker of the House John Boehner of Ohio said "raising tax rates is unacceptable."

As we explained earlier, the country is facing a "fiscal cliff" in January. The confluence of the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and spending cuts agreed to by both parties during the debt-ceiling fight could throw the country back into recession.

So, a divided government has to come to a "grand bargain."

But with Boehner's declarations today and what President Obama has said on the campaign trail seem to signal that we're back where we've always been.

Republicans say no tax increases. Democrats say no to entitlement cuts, if tax increases for the rich are not on the table.

To be fair, Boehner (R-Ohio) went on to take a less rigid position later in the interview.

He said that new tax revenue, derived from an overhaul of the tax code, could be on the table.

"I would do that if the president was serious about solving our spending problem and trying to secure our entitlement programs," Boehner told ABC. "If you're increasing taxes on small-business people, it's the wrong approach."

He also conceded that he's ready to talk about anything.

"Of course, we'll talk about it. We talk about all kinds of things we may disagree on," Boehner said. "I'm the most reasonable, responsible person here in Washington. The president knows it. He knows that he and I can work together. The election's over. Now it's time to get to work."

President Obama, by the way, will make a statement on the fiscal cliff tomorrow afternoon. They will be his first public comments since he delivered his acceptance speech on Tuesday.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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