The start of negotiations in the Senate marked a new endgame for discussions that have moved in fits and starts since the November election.

Boehner refused for weeks to accept any rate increases, and simultaneously accused Obama of skimping on the spending cuts he would support as part of a balanced deal to reduce deficits, remove the threat of spending cuts and prevent the across-the-board tax cuts.

Last week, the Ohio Republican presented a Plan B measure that would have let rates rise on million-dollar earners, well above Obama's latest offer for a $400,000 threshold.

Facing defeat, Boehner scrapped plans for a vote, leaving the economy on track for the cliff that political leaders in both parties had said they could avoid.

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Associated Press writers Alan Fram and Andrew Taylor 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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