House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) broke the uneasy silence in “fiscal cliff’ negotiations Tuesday, taking to the House floor to refocus attention on the spending cuts Republicans are demanding from President Obama in exchange for new tax revenue in a year-end budget deal.

Boehner said he remained optimistic after his private meeting over the weekend with Obama at the White House, but took the unusual move of delivering floor comments after both sides had remained mum after their secretive session.

“Where are the president’s spending cuts?” Boehner said as the chamber opened Tuesday. “When is the president going to get serious?”