POSTED: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - 6:00pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - 6:13pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Fiscal cliff negotiations continue on Capitol Hill, but no deal appears imminent.
"I remain the most optimistic person in this town, but we've got some serious differences," House Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday.
He blamed President Obama for focusing on more revenue from the rich.
"It's mainly tax hikes and it does nothing to solve our debt crisis, it actually increases spending," Boehner complained.
Boehner, who included no tax hikes in his latest offer to the president, is demanding spending cuts on entitlements like Medicare, by increasing the eligibility age in that case, but Democrats fear a coverage gap.
"If you increase the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67, what's a person to do who retires at 63 or 64 with a medical condition?" noted Illinois' Senator Dick Durbin.
Wednesday's NBC News/Wall St. Journal poll finds the American people want both sides to bend.
65% say make compromises, while only 28% want lawmakers to stick to their positions.
Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned going off the cliff would derail the recovery.
"You don't want to scare people and I actually believe that Congress will come up with a solution, and I certainly hope they will," Bernanke said.
The White House says the president will not bend on tax hikes for the rich, and added that Speaker
Boehner must accept that as a fundamental fact.