USA Today’s David Jackson reports:
While attention has shifted to the horrific school shooting in Connecticut — and deservedly so — White House and congressional officials continue to talk about ways to avoid the fiscal cliff.
Things are moving, but it’s hard to assess the prospects for success because neither side is saying much.
Sources say House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has offered to raise the top income tax rate, affecting Americans who make more than $1 million annually.
President Obama, however, wants to raise the top two tax rates, covering taxpayers who make more than $250,000 a year. He says the government needs more revenue to help reduce a national debt that now exceeds $16 trillion.
There are also reports that Boehner has offered to increase the debt ceiling as part of a deal.
Boehner aides, while not commenting on the reports, have said that debt reduction agreement must include major spending cuts, including the fast-growing entitlement programs of Social Security and Medicare.
“Our position has not changed,” said Boehner spokesman Michael S. Steel. “Any debt limit increase would require cuts and reforms of a greater amount.”
Both sides face an end-of-the-year deadline to avoid the fiscal cliff, a series of tax hikes and budget cuts that take effect in the absence of a debt reduction agreement.
With time running out, expect more movement in the week ahead — we’re just not sure which direction.