President, congressional leaders reportedly near $3 trillion deal

Amanda Carey Contributor
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Rumors swirled on Capitol Hill Thursday that President Barack Obama and congressional leaders were near a debt-reduction deal. The narrative that has emerged tonight is this: GOP leaders on the Hill are discussing a deal with the president that involves $3 trillion in spending cuts over ten years and an increase of the debt limit.

Any deal appears, however, to be stalled, because of disagreements over whether or not to preserve the Bush tax cuts. The deal, as it is currently written, would allow the tax cuts to expire by the end of 2012 for those making over $250,000. The deal is also said to include an agreement to reform the tax code.

Speaker of the House John Boehner reportedly wants for the Bush cuts to be made permanent, along with the commitment to further reforms like doing away with loopholes in the tax code.

When contacted by The Daily Caller about the deal, Boehner spokesperson Michael Steel sought to downplay the rumors.

“While we are keeping the lines of communication open, there is no ‘deal’ and no progress to report,” said Steel. “We are still focused on the ‘Cut, Cap, and Balance’ bill that passed the House with bipartisan support, and hope the Senate will take it up as soon as possible.”

The Senate is now scheduled to vote on the Cut, Cap and Balance Act (CCB) sometime Friday.

In his daily press briefing, White House press secretary Jay Carney also denied that negotiations were coming to a close with a deal.

“There is no deal,” said Carney. “We are not close to a deal.”

Democratic leaders are scheduled to meet with the president at the White House Thursday evening. Speaker Boehner is supposed to meet with the entire GOP caucus Friday.

In a press conference Thursday, the speaker told reporters he had prepared the other members of his party to accept compromises in the final deal.