The Boehner aide said the new offer brought Obama's initial demand for $1.6 trillion in new tax revenues down to $1.4 trillion
President Barack Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner spoke Tuesday after privately exchanging a new round of rival proposals for keeping the economy from tumbling off the "fiscal cliff" on January 1, aides to both men told Yahoo News. The fresh discussion signaled a welcome bit of movement in negotiations that had appeared stalled for several days.
"The Speaker and POTUS (the President of the United States) spoke by telephone this evening," a White House official said on condition of anonymity. A Boehner aide said the White House had presented a new offer on tax cuts and revenue increases on Monday and that Republicans had returned with a counter-offer on Tuesday.
The White House refused to offer details about its proposal. But the Boehner aide said the new offer brought Obama's initial demand for $1.6 trillion in new tax revenues down to $1.4 trillion.
The step would still require raising tax rates on wealthier Americans, something Boehner has previously rejected. Obama has said any final deal must raise tax rates on the richest Americans.
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel confirmed that the Speaker's office had returned a counter-offer to the president but would not disclose many specifics.
"We sent the White House a counter-offer that would achieve tax and entitlement reform to solve our looming debt crisis and create more American jobs," Steel said.
Earlier Tuesday, the Speaker himself complained that Obama hadn't been specific enough about the spending cuts he was prepared to embrace as part of a broader deficit-cutting plan.
"Let's be honest, we're broke," Boehner said on the House floor. "We're still waiting for the White House to identify what spending cuts the president is willing to make as part of the 'balanced approach' that he promised the American people."
Also Tuesday, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid warned it was unlikely that lawmakers and the White House would be able to forge a compromise in time for Christmas, raising the prospect of a high-stakes game of chicken through the end of the year.
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