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The fiscal cliff curb debate has been put in its proper rhetorical place now that the traditional media has been reminded by Newtown, horribly, of what real catastrophe looks like. There's even a slim chance that House Republicans will be chastened enough to realize the battle they are fighting on behalf of the nation's millionaires is increasingly crass and inappropriate. Perhaps.
At any rate, the negotiating does continue, and it appears that House Speaker John Boehner might be moving toward rationality. First, he's offering to take the debt limit out of the mix for the next year, but with still-unreasonable strings attached.
The offer came Friday, according to people in both parties familiar with the talks, as part of the latest effort by Boehner (R-Ohio) to strike a deal with President Obama to replace more than $500 billion in painful deficit-reduction measures set to take effect in January. [...]
Boehner’s offer signals that he expects a big deal with sufficient savings to meet his demand that any debt limit increase be paired dollar for dollar with spending cuts. That would permit him to keep a key vow to his party—and head off a potentially nasty debt-limit fight—at least until the end of next year.
“Our position has not changed,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said Sunday. “Any debt limit increase would require cuts and reforms of a greater amount.”
The White House rejected Boehner’s offer, saying it would raise too little cash to significantly dent record budget deficits and do nothing to extend emergency unemployment benefits into the new year, according to a Democrat familiar with the talks. But the offer was viewed as a breakthrough, the Democrat said.
Boehner has also moved on tax rates, proposing that the Bush tax cuts for those making more than $1 million expire, but again has unacceptable demands in return. That demand is $1 trillion in spending cuts, starting with Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
But what this latest offer from Boehner shows is that an immovable President Obama, with mandate from voters behind him, doesn't have to make damaging concessions.