(CBS NEWS) -- Publicly, it sounded like the White House and House Republicans had gotten nowhere by Tuesday night.
the most recent trade of proposals between President Obama and House
Speaker John Boehner, the White House sent its offer to the Capitol
Monday and Republicans counter-offered Tuesday, after which Mr. Obama
and Boehner spoke by telephone, though no details were provided.
latest offer from the White House included $1.4 trillion in new
revenue, down from its initial request of $1.6 trillion, but still $600
billion more than the $800 billion number Republicans are aiming for.
One senior GOP House source told CBS News that the $1.4
trillion offer is no more acceptable than the White House's first offer,
casting it as laughable. And earlier in the day, after the White House
made its latest offer and before Boehner sent his most recent
counter-proposal, he took to the House floor to call out the White House
for "slow walking" the negotiations.
But, despite the public posturing, the fact that very
little has leaked about the private conversations between the president
and Boehner is a signal that there may be real movement behind the
scenes. Publicly, however, the only news out of the latest round of
negotiations is the lowering of the White House's tax revenue request
and, as the Wall Street Journal reports, the news that another part of the tax code is on the table:
White House has told Republicans it would include an overhaul of the
corporate-tax code as part of any deal to reduce the deficit, people
familiar with the talks said, putting a major priority for business
groups on the table as part of the intensifying negotiations.
taxes hadn't until now been part of budget talks aimed at averting
spending cuts and tax increases set for January. Much of the focus has
instead been on the expiring individual income-tax cuts, not corporate
As part of its budget proposal, the White House lowered its target
for new tax revenue to $1.4 trillion, down from Mr. Obama's initial
offer of $1.6 trillion, officials said. It also included new stimulus
spending, an increase in the U.S.'s borrowing limit and a commitment to
overhaul the corporate tax code in 2013, though no details were
Meanwhile, the New York Times points out,
even if Mr. Obama and Boehner clear the hurdle of coming to an
agreement on how to avert the "fiscal cliff", the next hugely
significant challenge will be for Boehner to get his fellow House
Republicans to vote for it:
quickening on Tuesday to prevent a year-end fiscal crisis, White House
officials once again are confronting a vexing question: Can Speaker John
A. Boehner deliver enough Republican votes for whatever
deficit-reduction plan he and President Obama might decide?
months ago the White House was forced to answer in the negative after
secret negotiations between the two leaders collapsed once word leaked
of their tentative deal, with its proposed revenue increases. But once
again, Mr. Obama must put his fate in Mr. Boehner's hands on the issue
that will help define the president's second term, and his legacy.
If a deal is struck and Mr. Obama and Congress avert the
"fiscal cliff" before January 1, there's still more for them to worry
about early next year, the Associated Press reports:
White House and Republican congressional leaders labor behind closed
doors to cut a deal to steer clear of the first cliff - mandatory tax
increases and spending cuts due to hit in early January - another
treacherous economic precipice looms.
It's when the government will again bump up against the congressionally-set debt ceiling. ...
current statutory limit on the government's borrowing authority of
$16.4 trillion will technically be reached in late December, but likely
can be put off until mid-February through accounting maneuvers.
has asked Congress for authority to raise the debt limit without prior
approval. But Republicans seem unlikely to give up that bargaining chip.
Back to the imminent issue at hand, the "fiscal cliff", the president
told ABC News that he's still optimistic that a deal will get done,
adding that while a deal is reachable, "time is running short."