President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) met at the White House in the latest sign of intensifying discussions around their effort to forge a broad framework to tame the federal debt, with a Dec. 31 deadline fast approaching to reach a deal to avert a massive austerity combination of tax hikes and spending cuts.
The meeting -- their third conversation in the last five days -- comes after Boehner put forward a new offer that would call for $1 trillion in new tax revenue, including a raise in tax rates on income of more than $1 million, and $1 trillion in spending cuts that would include a revision to expensive entitlement programs. The speaker's preferred plan is to revise downward the annual inflation adjustment for beneficiaries of federal programs, including Social Security.
The White House rejected that formulation, but aides in both parties said Sunday that it has set the table for deeper negotiations between the two sides.
“The President and the Speaker are meeting at the White House to continue their discussions about the fiscal cliff and balanced deficit reduction," Michael Steel, Boehner's spokesman, said in a statement.