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White House May be Open to Compromise on Taxes

By    |   Wednesday, 30 Oct 2013 11:14 AM

In a recent meeting with Senate Republicans, President Barack Obama appeared to ease his hard-line insistence that raising taxes would have to be part of any budget deal to help offset automatic spending cuts, according to The Wall Street Journal.

If true, a more flexible stand on the part of the president could lead to a breakthrough in the three-year impasse over the budget between the White House and Republicans in Congress.

According to the Journal, Obama signaled his willingness to strike a deal in a meeting with Senate Republicans earlier this month, where he indicated that he could accept a budget deal without new revenues that included some cuts to entitlement programs that he had previously supported.

Citing unnamed officials familiar with the meeting, the Journal reported that Obama suggested to GOP Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee that he would be willing to accept that approach if it was part of a very narrow deal to replace part of the scheduled sequester cuts. But the officials said Obama also acknowledged in the meeting that his fellow Democrats in Congress might not agree.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, for one, has continued to demand that new tax revenue will have to be part of any deal to roll back the across-the-board spending cuts that began in March.

Some liberal groups, meanwhile, have expressed concerns that Obama is retreating from his call for new taxes even before negotiations with GOP lawmakers begin, the Journal also noted.

The 29-member bipartisan negotiating team is convening on Capitol Hill Wednesday to try to hammer out a long-term compromise to fund the government for the rest of the current fiscal year. But according to Politico, the negotiators from both the House and Senate are setting a low bar for the talks in contrast with failed efforts in the past to strike a so-called "grand bargain" on long-term government spending, entitlement programs, and the tax code.

"There seems to be a consensus that we should set our expectations small," Rep. Nita Lowey, D-NY, who is on the conference committee, told the publication.

The panel was established earlier this month as part of the deal to reopen the government and avoid default on the national debt. The committee has a deadline of Dec. 13 to reach an agreement.

As they prepared to meet, many members said the most realistic expectation is that the committee will settle on a one-year spending figure that addresses the current fiscal year, which began Oct. 1.

"Realistically, given the circumstances and the time we’ve got, a one-year budget [number] that solves some part of the sequester and allows for economic growth is a good result," Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, a member of the conference committee, told Politico.

For its part, the White House apparently intends to refrain from public statements suggesting any position on the president's part in order to give the negotiators more room to maneuver, the Journal noted.

Related stories:

Democratic Coalition Fracturing Over Entitlements Before Budget Talks

Poverty, Taxes Reach New Highs Under Obama





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In a recent meeting with Senate Republicans, President Barack Obama appeared to ease his hard-line insistence that raising taxes would have to be part of any budget deal to help offset automatic spending cuts, according to The Wall Street Journal.
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Wednesday, 30 Oct 2013 11:14 AM
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