Wall Street Journal (12/17/12) Janet Hook; Carol Lee; Damian Paletta
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has offered a new proposal that raises tax rates on millionaires, marking a breakthrough in stalled budget negotiations with President Obama and suggesting a potential framework for avoiding the fiscal cliff. The proposal, which the speaker offered privately to Obama on Dec. 14, calls for raising $1 trillion in tax revenues over 10 years, up from the $800 billion Boehner previously proposed, and cutting about $1 trillion from spending. While the White House objected to major parts of the proposal, senior Democrats described it as a potential tipping point that clears the way for both sides to engage in haggling over exactly where the new income threshold might be set and what should comprise the spending cuts.
Boehner’s proposal calls for a two-stage process, providing for enactment of a small-scale deficit-reduction plan by year’s end, coupled with a second phase next year, in which lawmakers would embark on a revamp of the tax code and entitlement programs, using a final agreement as a guide. Boehner offered to include an increase in the U.S. borrowing limit as part of the deal—enough to avoid another fight over the issue for perhaps a year if it is matched by comparable spending cuts.