Monday, May 20, 2013
Tribune Washington Bureau
(Continued from page 1)
A shift can be heard in the rhetoric, as Republicans now say they are willing to consider increases in tax revenue, and Obama has softened his insistence that top income tax rates, now at 35 percent, must rise to 39.6 percent, the rate from the Clinton era.
"We all understand where we are," said Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader. "We're prepared to put revenue on the table provided we fix the real problem, even though most of my members, I think without exception, believe that we're in the dilemma we're in not because we tax too little but because we spend too much."
During the hourlong session Friday, Boehner presented his proposal to have the parties agree to "targets" for new tax revenues and spending cuts, which would be bound by statute and enacted in 2013.
Tax revenue could be raised by closing tax loopholes or capping deductions for the wealthiest Americans -- couples earning incomes above $250,000, or $200,000 for singles. Such a broad deal would also require Democrats to agree to rein in spending on Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlement programs as Obama has previously proposed.