Obama fiscal cliff counter offer calls for ‘fast-track’ tax code procedures

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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President Barack Obama offered Speaker of the House John Boehner a fiscal cliff deal on Monday that lowered the amount of new revenue he was asking for, and increased the threshold at which the Bush tax cuts would expire.

The offer was made when the two met this morning, according to a Boehner aide.

The new deal, the New York Times reported, asks for $1.2 trillion in new revenue over the next decade, down from $1.6 trillion originally. The deal calls for the Bush tax cuts to expire for people making over $400,000 a year; originally, Obama had said that he wanted to raise taxes on those making over $250,000 a year.

Obama asked for the debt ceiling to be raised to a level where it would not be an issue for the next two years. He had originally asked that the president be given power to raise the debt ceiling as necessary.

Obama’s latest proposal includes $1.22 trillion in spending cuts over the next ten years. $800 billion will come from cuts to health care programs, other mandatory programs, farm price supports, defense spending and domestic programs.

Another $122 billion will come from slowing the increase of government benefits — Social Security in particular.

Obama also proposed “fast-track procedures” to overhaul the tax code.

The tax credit for corporate research and development would be permanently extended, the alternative minimum tax would be abolished and a long-proposed but never implemented cut to Medicare would be taken off the table.

The cuts would not come at the expense of what Obama calls “most vulnerable populations,” such as wounded veterans or disabled people who draw Supplemental Security Income.

Boehner’s office made clear in a statement that while the offer was a start, it was not a big enough step on the president’s part to get them to a deal.

“Any movement away from the unrealistic offers the president has made previously is a step in the right direction, but a proposal that includes $1.3 trillion in revenue for only $930 billion in spending cuts cannot be considered balanced. We hope to continue discussions with the President so we can reach an agreement that is truly balanced and begins to solve our spending problem.”

That’s a much more positive response than the Boehner’s outright rejection of the last proposal, which he called “not serious.”

The Speaker will present the offer to House Republicans on Tuesday.

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Alexis Levinson