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No One Retreating; Cliff Talks Seem At Standstill

In talks that ended in failure 18 months ago, according to aides in both political parties, Obama had tentatively agreed to a proposal to raise the age of Medicare eligibility from 65 to 67 beginning in a decade, and had also said he would accept a change to slow the annual cost-of-living increases that go to recipients of Social Security and other federal benefits.

This time, the two sides have advanced opening proposals that are short of specifics and reflect different priorities.

Obama's plan would raise $1.6 trillion in revenue over 10 years, in part by raising tax rates on incomes over $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples.

He has recommended $400 billion in spending cuts over a decade.

He also is seeking extension of the Social Security payroll tax cut due to expire on Jan. 1, a continuation in long-term unemployment benefits and steps to help hard-pressed homeowners and doctors who treat Medicare patients.

Boehner's plan, in addition to calling for $800 billion in new revenue, envisions $600 billion in savings over a decade from Medicare, Medicaid and other government health programs as well as $300 billion from other benefit programs and another $300 billion from other domestic programs.

It would trim annual increases in Social Security payments to beneficiaries, and it calls for gradually raising the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67, beginning in a decade.

___

AP White House Correspondent Ben Feller in Redford, Mich., and Ken Thomas in Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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