WASHINGTON (CBS) - Speaker of the House John Boehner is taking the lead for the Republicans in the negotiations over the fiscal cliff. Unfortunately for him, being in the lead sometimes means being the one who takes the heat.
Speaker Boehner led the countdown to the lighting of the Capitol Hill Christmas tree last night. But a different countdown weighs on the mind of these lawmakers: The countdown to the fiscal cliff, a series of tax increases and spending cuts due to kick in at the end of the year.
Speaker Boehner offered the Republican proposal this week and now he faces opposition from President Obama. He says, "Unfortunately Speaker Boehner's proposal is out of balance."
And some in his own party are lining up against him as well. South Carolina Sen. Jim Demint, a tea party leader, said, "Speaker Boehner's $800 billion tax hike will destroy American jobs and allow politicians in Washington to spend even more."
Disagreement among Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill is nothing new. But Tuesday, a Republican aide says the two sides aren't event talking. The White House disagreed. White House press secretary Jay Carney says, "I can guarantee you that conversations continue at different levels among different groups."
And now both parties are ready to play the blame game in case negotiations fail. Sen. Mitch McConnell says, "There's only one person out of 307 million Americans who can sign something into law, and that's the president."
Sen. Harry Reid says, "Sixty percent of Americans support asking millionaires to pay slightly more."
A Washington Post poll shows 53 percent of Americans will blame the Republicans if the nation goes over the fiscal cliff. Twenty-seven percent would hold the president responsible.
President Obama will continue his attempts to win over the business community when he speaks at a conference of top corporate CEOs this afternoon. Speaker Boehner will host small business owners on Capitol Hill this morning.