"The president's proposal is not a plan, it's not a solution," he said.
There is increasing concern about a Dec. 31 deadline to stop the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts and the start of across-the-board spending cuts that are the result of Washington's failure to complete a deficit-reduction deal last year. Even if an agreement can be reached, the halting pace of negotiations is jeopardizing chances that it could be written into proper legislative form and passed through both House and Senate before the new Congress convenes on Jan. 3.
Both sides accuse the other of slow-walking the talks. Democrats say Boehner is unwilling to crack on the key issue of raising tax rates on family income over $250,000 because he's afraid of a revolt on his right flank and from younger, ambitious members of his leadership team.
"I do have an increasing concern that the speaker ... is trying to string this out until Jan. 3 because that's when he would be re-elected as speaker," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, top Democrat on the House Budget Committee. "And I think he's nervous that if he can't get a majority of his House Republican members to support a reasonable agreement that that could put his speakership election in jeopardy. And so that might cause him to try and string these talks" along.
Republicans say it's Democrats who are dragging out the talks.
"In the past 48 hours, the president has not been negotiating in good faith in my opinion," said Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, who said he was increasingly pessimistic that a deal could be reached.
"I believe we can get to a point on revenues that we can get something done, but the problem is the White House and the president refuse to get serious about spending," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said.
While Republicans are flummoxed on taxes, liberal Democrats are trying to pull Obama in the opposite direction on Medicare and Social Security. Eighteen months ago, Obama had all but agreed to an increase in the Medicare retirement age and a less generous inflation adjustment for calculating Social Security COLAs.
Now, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is warning against raising the Medicare eligibility age, saying such a move wouldn't contribute much savings toward an agreement in the short term.
Democrats are also pushing back against a GOP plan to reduce Social Security cost-of-living adjustments, another step back from where Obama and Boehner were just 18 months ago.
"Quite frankly, Social Security is off the table," Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., said.
The backtracking has Republicans fuming that Obama campaigned on a "balanced" fiscal solution but now is unwilling to pair tax increases with politically painful cuts to Medicare and other popular programs.