WASHINGTON - One day before a crucial U.S. budget meeting between the White House and congressional leaders, a high-ranking senator said Republicans have agreed to including significant revenue increases in a deficit-reduction framework.
"If you add up all of the revenues that we Republicans have agreed to, it's between $150 billion and $200 billion," said Senator Jon Kyl, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate.
Kyl said two possible ways to bring additional revenue to the government would be through sales of government property and additional fees for government services.
Meanwhile, House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor floated a possible tax compromise, saying Republicans could agree to closing some tax breaks in a budget deal as long as they were offset with tax cuts elsewhere.
"Any discussion about loopholes must be accompanied by offsetting tax cuts," Cantor said at a news conference.
Republicans had been adamant about tax increases not being included in a deficit-reduction deal that President Barack Obama hopes clears the way for also increasing U.S. borrowing authority.
In a lengthy speech on the Senate floor, Kyl talked about increased revenues from the sale of government assets or higher user fees.
He criticized, however, Democratic proposals to get rid of tax breaks on corporate jets or tossing an accounting method known as "last in first out" that eases business tax burdens.
Democrats say they have offered up a "menu" of revenue increases of as much as $400 billion in the deficit-reduction and debt limit talks.
If the limit on U.S. borrowing authority, now at $14.3 trillion, is not raised by the Treasury Department's August 2 deadline, there are fears the United States could either miss some debt repayments or be forced into cutting off major government benefits including Social Security checks.
Obama said such an outcome could push the United States economy into a second recession or worse.
On Thursday, Obama is scheduled to meet at 11:15 EDT with a bipartisan group of congressional leaders. Obama will push for a big agreement that could target as much as $4 trillion in savings -- double the size of what had been under discussion, according to Democratic officials. They provided no details on how they would reach that target.
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