Obama administration takes tough line with GOP in fiscal cliff as Obama talks with Boehner

WASHINGTON – The administration is taking a tough line on the “fiscal cliff” at the same time President Barack Obama resumes contact with House Speaker John Boehner over ways to avert across-the-board spending cuts and tax increases at the turn of the year.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says the administration will “absolutely” let the double whammy take effect as scheduled unless Republicans give in to Obama’s demand to raise tax rates at upper income levels. He told CNBC on Wednesday that the problem is too big to be solved without raising tax rates on the wealthy.

Geithner drew a fierce response from Republicans. Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah called his statement “stunning and irresponsible.” He said going over the fiscal cliff would “put our economy, jobs, people’s paychecks and retirement at risk.”