Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks to reporters after private talks with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on the fiscal cliff negotiations, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012. "No substantive progress has been made between the White House and the House" in the past two weeks, Boehner said. The “fiscal cliff” is a combination of tax increases and spending cuts worth about $670 billion that will take effect at the start of next year unless Congress and the White House agree to postpone or replace them. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON — Talks over the nation's year-end budget crisis stalled Thursday as Republicans rejected the latest White House offer and emboldened Democrats held firm on President Barack Obama's insistence that wealthier Americans must pay more taxes.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, struck a gloomy note after speaking by phone with Obama late Wednesday — a conversation described as "curt" by one source — and meeting Thursday with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in the Capitol.

Geithner presented the White House's latest offer, similar to its opening bid: $1.6 trillion in new revenues over a decade, largely from tax increases on the wealthy, as well as spending cuts the president had previously proposed.

The White House also wants $50 billion in new stimulus spending, aid to help homeowners refinance mortgages, $30 billion in extended unemployment benefits and a new process to make it easier to raise the federal debt limit debt, which must increase in a matter of months to prevent a default.

"I'm disappointed in where we are," Boehner said.

Four weeks remain before the nation hurtles off the $500 billion "fiscal cliff" of tax increases and spending cuts. Tax rates in place for a decade are set to rise Dec. 31. Days later, massive spending cuts will begin to slice the federal government.

Neither political party has budged from its starting position. Top Republicans also have refused Obama's call to pass a bill that would prevent a tax increase on 98 percent of households while talks continue.

As Obama prepares to take his proposal on the road Friday, Democrats are increasingly buoyed, believing they hold a stronger hand.

"Look, we don't expect the Republicans to be enthusiastic and start cheerleading about a deal that includes higher rates on the wealthiest Americans," said Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Democrat. "But they see the handwriting on the wall."

Obama and Boehner spoke late Wednesday before high-level talks resumed for the first time since top congressional leaders met at the White House immediately after the election.

"It was frank and direct and a good conversation," said White House spokesman Jay Carney. The call lasted 28 minutes, one White House official said.

Republicans are increasingly frustrated that Democrats have declined to outline specific cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other government programs in exchange for Boehner's willingness to consider new revenue sources.

Boehner laid the blame for the stalemate on Obama and his allies on Capitol Hill.

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