But in an interview with ABC News' Diane Sawyer scheduled to air on Thursday, Boehner clarified those comments by reiterating that "raising tax rates is unacceptable," a stance squarely at odds with Obama's call for higher rates for top earners.
If no agreement is reached, the highest ordinary income rate would jump from the current level of 35% to 39.6%. Capital gains income would be taxed at 20%, up from the current level of 15%, while income from qualified dividends would spike from 15% to the rate at which the investor's ordinary income is taxed. Those increases are compounded by a 3.8% surcharge on investment income for top earners that was included in Obama's health-care reform law. That increase will take effect regardless of what Congress does to address the fiscal cliff, and Boehner has indicated that he won't continue to lead efforts to repeal the health-care law.
"Either way, though, affluent Americans are going to be looking at higher taxes next year, and I think Republicans are starting to recognize that," Friedman said.