President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, met at the White House this morning to “continue their discussions about the fiscal cliff and balanced deficit reduction,” according to White House and congressional officials.
The 45-minute meeting, their first since last Thursday, comes amid renewed optimism that House Republicans and the Obama administration can reach a deal to avert the looming spending cuts and tax increases set to kick in on Jan. 1.
Sources say Boehner has put forth a proposal agreeing for the first time to higher tax rates for wealthier Americans making over $1 million a year if the administration would agree to major entitlement cuts and reforms.
The president, who has demanded that tax rates go up on the top two percent of income earners as part of any deal, did not reject the offer, but did express some concerns. Obama wants to raise rates on taxpayers who make more than $250,000 a year.
Boehner also reportedly offered to increase the debt ceiling as part of a deal, but aides to the Speaker note that any debt limit increase would require cuts and reforms of a greater amount.
When he returned to Capitol Hill shortly after noon, Boehner ignored questions as he made his through a small scrum of reporters.
–Mary Bruce and John Parkinson