Boehner, Obama exchange new offers in deficit negotiations

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Obama have exchanged new offers in negotiations over tax hikes and spending cuts in a sign the talks are making progress. 

The White House made its offer on Monday, lowering its $1.6 trillion request for new tax revenues to $1.4 trillion over 10 years, according to a senior administration official. 

Republicans made a counteroffer Tuesday that remained at $800 billion in new tax revenues.

Boehner and Obama also spoke to one another on Tuesday night in another sign that talks are progressing.

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“We sent the White House a counteroffer that would achieve tax and entitlement reform to solve our looming debt crisis and create more American jobs,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said. Boehner’s office would not provide any further details of the offer.

The signs of progress in the private talks came as officials warned publicly that time was running out for a deal. 

The announcement of the offer came hours after Boehner took to the House floor to urge the White House to put more explicit spending cuts on the table.

Following Boehner's remarks, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said it would be “extremely difficult” for Washington to reach a deal before Christmas to avoid the looming fiscal cliff.

“[U]ntil we hear something from the Republicans, there’s nothing to do," Reid said.

Reid added that splits within the Republican Party over how to move forward in negotiations were slowing efforts at a deal.

“As the Speaker said today, we’re still waiting for the White House to identify what spending cuts the president is willing to make as part of the ‘balanced approach’ he promised the American people. The longer the White House slow-walks this process, the closer our economy gets to the fiscal cliff,” Steel said.

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Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said on Tuesday that if Republicans wanted spending cuts to be a part of a "fiscal-cliff" package, they would have to start proposing them themselves.

"The Republicans have a responsibility, if they want to cut spending, to say where they want to cut it," the Democratic whip said during his weekly press briefing in the Capitol. "We're not going to fill in the details of their proposal. ... They need to make their proposal."

Congress and the White House are racing to replace $600 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts set to hit in January with a debt deal. Obama previously put $1.6 trillion in tax revenue increases on the table, and Boehner countered with $800 billion in revenue from simplifying the tax code.


—This report was originally published at 4:50 p.m. and last updated at 6:08 p.m.

Amie Parnes contributed to this story.