After meeting at the White House for 45 minutes on Monday, President Obama made House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) a new offer this evening, one that significantly bridges the gap between the two sides in hopes of reaching a deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff.
The details, via a source familiar with the negotiations, include: a movement on revenue demands to $1.2 trillion from an initial $1.6 trillion, a permanent extension of Bush-era tax rates for incomes less than $400,000 (Obama initially set the threshold at $250,000), $1.2 trillion in spending cuts, a "fast track process" for corporate and individual tax reform once the new Congress convenes, permanent extension of tax extenders and the alternative minimum tax, an extension of unemployment benefits set to expire at the end of the year, additional stimulus in the form of infrastructure spending and a two-year debt limit increase.
The White House proposal would also allow the payroll tax cut to expire, and call for $130 billion in savings from Social Security benefits by adjusting the program's inflation index. The offer would include protections for the most vulnerable recipients, the person said.
Boehner's office welcomed the offer as positive movement, yet still characterized it as an unbalanced proposal.
"Any movement away from the unrealistic offers the President has made previously is a step in the right direction, but a proposal that includes $1.3 trillion in revenue for only $930 billion in spending cuts cannot be considered balanced," emailed a Boehner spokesman. "We hope to continue discussions with the President so we can reach an agreement that is truly balanced and begins to solve our spending problem."
Shortly after reports of the new offer, the progressive activist group MoveOn.org threatened to mobilize its members against the proposal should it become part of the final deal, taking particular issue with cuts to entitlements.
"If such a deal were proposed by the President and Speaker, MoveOn members would expect every Senate and House Democrat to do everything in their power to block it," said Executive Director Justin Ruben in a statement.