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The screening comes while lawmakers continue to struggle to agree on a deficit-reduction deal that would avoid the looming "fiscal cliff" of spending cuts and tax increases. 

On Wednesday, President Obama and Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Even some conservatives seem open to return to earmarks Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism MORE (R-Ohio) held a BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Even some conservatives seem open to return to earmarks Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism MORE-hold-phone-call-on-debt-talks" href="http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/domestic-taxes/271291-obama-boehner-hold-phone-call-on-debt-talks">phone call amid the negotiations on a deficit deal. Aides confirmed the phone call, cut would not say what was discussed.

Previously, after Obama offered an initial proposal with $1.6 trillion in tax increases and $400 billion in entitlement program savings, Republicans countered with an offer that raises $800 billion in new tax revenue but does not raise tax rates. Obama dismissed the proposal. 

Obama and top Democrats have said they cannot agree to any plan that does not include any increases on tax rates for the highest-income earners.