Another Step in the Right Direction for Fiscal Cliff Deal

There are still some hurdles to clear - but President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner are reportedly closer to an agreement on a plan to avert the fiscal cliff. The President had a counter-offer to that proposed by Boehner. It included a reduction in the amount of new revenue sought to 1.2-trillion dollars over the next decade and limiting the tax rate hikes to households earning more than 400-thousand a year. President Obama also increased his overall offer on spending cuts and let go of a demand to extend the payroll tax holiday. He still wants to increase the federal government's borrowing limit enough to avert any new fight for two years. Boehner is offering a one-year debt limit increase. He also believes more balance is needed between taxes and spending cuts. A Boehner spokesman - in a written statement - said a proposal that includes 1.3-trillion in revenue for 930-billion in spending cuts cannot be considered balanced. Still - it appears the two sides are getting closer on the broad outlines of a deal. If the talks between Obama and Boehner don't lead to a consensus in the coming days - congressional leaders will have to work quickly to find a fallback plan to avoid hundreds-of-billions of dollars in automatic tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to begin at the start of the new year.

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