In a bid to lessen the tension at the start of negotiations over the issue of fiscal cliff, a toxic combination of $700 billion in across-the-board tax hikes and spending cuts, President Obama presented a fine bottle of Tuscan wine to his negotiating adversary, House Speaker John Boehner, as a birthday gift last November 16th, Friday.
The newly re-elected president in his opening remarks at a bipartisan meeting at the White House wished the speaker who just turned 63, a one-time golf companion whom he failed to make a budget deal last year, a happy birthday while the cameras rolled.
He even quipped “We’re not going to embarrass him with a cake, because we don’t know how many candles were needed”, wherein Boehner sportingly replied “Yeah, right”.
The birthday gift of a 1997 bottle of Altero Brunello di Montalcino, may violate the House ban on gifts of more than $50 to members of Congress, given how far Democrats and Republicans remain on taxes and spending cuts, cost around $125 in DC stores.
However, there is an exception for gifts from friends and the wine falls under this category.
In January 2013, the fiscal cliff goes into effect, unless the parties concerned reach a revised deficit-reduction agreement.
Obama wanted to make sure that the middle class families are exempted from the tax hikes and the tax rates for the wealthy to be increased, but the latter was opposed by the Republicans.
Senate GOP Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) said “We are prepared to put revenue on the table, provided we fix the real problem”, and added “the dilemma we’re in is not because we taxed too little, but because we spend too much”.
“I believe we can do this and avert the fiscal cliff”, concluded by Boehner.