Fiscal Cliff Compromise Elusive

If GOP signs on to tax increases, Democrats would have to accept deeper spending cuts.

Republicans’ post-election rhetorical openness to higher taxes comes with a price that neither side of the fiscal debate in Washington may be willing to pay.

To get a deal with Democrats, Republicans would have to turn their talk of higher revenue into a vote that may split the party. And to transform Republicans’ talk into action, Democrats would need to accept deeper cuts to entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid than they are willing to countenance.

‘Remain Confident’

“We remain confident that we can achieve an agreement,” Carney said. More “work has to be done” to come up with a plan that both sides can live with.

Balance Package

Business groups could support a “balanced package” that doesn’t raise marginal tax rates and makes significant changes in entitlement spending, said Jade West, senior vice president for government relations at the National Association of Wholesalers and Distributors in Washington.

Durbin Speech

Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, the chamber’s second-ranking Democrat, is giving a speech today on the party’s priorities for a deficit-reduction deal.

Revenue Increase

In 2011, Boehner and Obama discussed an $800 billion revenue increase. That same year, Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania made an offer during the deficit-reduction supercommittee that would have included higher revenue.

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