House GOP Focusing On Fiscal Cliff Backup Plan
In the talks to date, Obama is now seeking $1.2 trillion in higher tax revenue, down from the $1.6 trillion he initially sought. He also has softened his demand for higher tax rates on household incomes so they would apply to incomes over $400,000 instead of the $250,000 he cited during his successful campaign for a new term.
He also has offered more than $800 billion in spending cuts over a decade, half of it from Medicare and Medicaid, $200 million farm and other benefit programs, $100 billion from defense and $100 billion from a broad swath of government accounts ranging from parks to transportation and education.
In a key concession to Republicans, the president also has agreed to slow the rise in cost-of-living-increases in Social Security and other benefit programs, at a savings estimated at about $130 billion over a decade.
By contrast, Boehner's most recent offer allowed for $1 trillion in higher taxes over a decade, with higher rates for annual incomes over $1 million. He's also seeking about $1.3 trillion in spending cuts.The two sides disagree, too, over increases in the government's debt limit, which will soon need to be raised when borrowing reaches the current $16.4 trillion cap. Also at issue are unemployment benefits, which are scheduled to expire for an estimated 2 million out-of-work Americans at year's end, and the prospect of reduced payments beginning Jan. 1 for doctors who care for Medicare patients. ___ Associated Press writers Andrew Taylor, Jim Kuhnhenn, Andrew Miga and Alan Fram contributed to this report.
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