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Since Jed Lewison's post, Ahead of meeting, speculation, a few hours ago reported initial speculation from Politico about what President Obama might propose in the 3:00 p.m. meeting with congressional leaders just starting, Jonathan Weisman and Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times have just reported a leak outlining the expected proposal, as they report in Narrower Tax Deal Floated as Lawmakers to Sit With Obama.

Congressional leaders Senator Harry Reid, Senator Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John A. Boehner; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader are in a last-change meeting with President Obama to hear his proposal for a transitional "scaled back" mini-deal that would prevent tax increases for those households with an income of $400,000 or below, modification of the Alternaive Minimum Tax, and a Medicare "doctor's fix."

This differs from the Politico speculation reported by Jed Lewison that predicted a $250,000 threshold.

At the meeting, Obama is expected to make what the White House considers a scaled-back offer — one to raise taxes on income over $250,000, extend jobless benefits, delay defense and domestic cuts and patch the Alternative Minimum Tax, sources say. Raising taxes at that level is a non-starter for Republicans, who want far more in spending cuts.

The New York Time speculation suggests a $400,000 compromise.

Congressional officials say staff-level talks between the White House and the Senate Republican leader are centering around a deal that would extend all the expiring Bush income tax cuts up to $400,000 in income. Some spending cuts would pay for a provision putting off a sudden cut in payments to medical providers treating Medicare patients. The deal would also prevent an expansion of the alternative minimum tax to keep it from hitting more of the middle class. It would extend a raft of already expired business tax cuts, like the research and development credit, and would renew tax cuts for the working poor and the middle class included in the 2009 stimulus law. The estate tax would stay at current levels.

It would not stop automatic spending cuts from hitting military and domestic programs beginning on Wednesday, nor would it raise the statutory borrowing limit, which will be reached on Monday. Congressional aides said those issues would be dealt with early next year in yet another showdown.

White House officials denied that any such offer was developing and said that the president was sticking with his insistence that household income only up to $250,000 would be protected from tax increases.

We should hear the actual details soon. Other's have speculated this mini-deal would have a 90 day expiration duration.

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12:49 PM PT: In Obama, Biden host top lawmakers in last-ditch ‘fiscal cliff’ talks The Washington Post reports that Vice President Biden, and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner joined the meeting which started at 3:10.

 

Obama summoned the four senior lawmakers — Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — to an Oval Office meeting in an effort to hammer out a deal that would also protect unemployed workers and the fragile U.S. recovery from severe austerity measures set to hit in just four days. Vice President Biden and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner were also participating in the talks, which began at about 3:10 p.m. EST, a White House official said.

CNN is reporting an anonymous source is reporting that President Obama is sticking to a $250,000 threshold, and is insisting that unemployment benefits be extended.

Republican aides are the source of the speculation about a $400,000 threshold.

One option that could potentially win broad support, Republican aides said, was allowing taxes to rise on household income over $400,000 a year — Obama’s latest offer in negotiations with Boehner — rather than the lower threshold of $250,000 a year, as Obama proposed during the presidential campaign.

Also reported to be up for discussion were proposals to extend unemployment insurance benefits scheduled to expire at year-end, prevent a cut in doctors’ Medicare reimbursements and put off some of the federal spending cuts slated to take effect in the new year, notably those affecting defense.

1:07 PM PT: Mediate reports that Charles Krauthammer give President Obama credit for "great skill--and ruthless skill and success", in shattering Republican opposition.

 

Hannity sardonically celebrated Obama’s return from his Hawaiian vacation to deal with the impending cliff. Krauthammer admitted he doesn’t “begrudge [Obama] his holiday,” but he does have an issue with how the president has been dealing with the fiscal cliff negotiations. He did, however, give Obama his due credit for a stunning accomplishment amidst the ongoing talks.

“He’s been using this, and I must say with great skill–-and ruthless skill and success–to fracture and basically shatter the Republican opposition… His objective from the very beginning was to break the will of the Republicans in the House, and to create an internal civil war. And he’s done that.”



Krauthammer said Obama has been pushing the GOP since winning reelection to focus on raising tax rates because he knew it would be a sore subject between differing factions of his Republican opposition, and his interest in scoring a partisan political victory outweighs his desire to seriously deal with the national debt.as-successfully-created-an-internal-civil-war-within-the-gop/

1:18 PM PT: Here's yet a different speculation based on a different anonymous source suggesting Obama will offer no new deal but insist that unless Republicans have a plan of their own, the support the one he offered.

It's almost enough to make you suspect all these different major news outlets are making all this up, or just choosing "anonymous source" who don't actually know anything. For what it is worth, Here's CNN anonymous source, covering yet another "possibility."

Source: Obama to seek counter-proposal or vote on his plan

A source familiar with the meeting said Obama would propose the same framework for a scaled-back agreement that he described last week.

Such a plan would extend current tax rates on family income up to $250,000 while allowing a return to higher rates above that level. It also would extend unemployment benefits and address some other issues, according to the source.

Obama will ask the Republican leaders if they have a counter-proposal that could pass both the House and Senate, the source said. If they don't, the president will ask the GOP leaders to hold an up-or-down vote on his plan, meaning it would need a simple majority to pass, the source added.

1:30 PM PT: CNN shows the meeting breaking up without a joint press statement.

For those keeping track the anonymous sources from these six sources have narrowed the speculation down to the range that President Obama has either made a new offer or insisted on his old one, has either stuck to a $250,000 threshold, or will be willing to compromise on a $400,000, will either compromise on real estate taxes, and AMT or not, an may or may or not deal with the Medicare doctors's fix, and the deal will either be a 90 day extension, a year, or forever.  And, all this either shows that the President is a "skillfull and ruthless" negotiator, or a complete marshmellow.  .... Stay tuned...  More to come as major news outlets interview more anonymous sources who may, or may not have any actual knowledge of what is going on.

2:05 PM PT: The New York Times is now reporting  that Obama Holds the Line on Tax Rate Threshold as Leaders Talk, however, this report is also based on anonymous sources or speculation, but reports President Obama is sticking to his $250,000 threshold but suggesting the GOP make a counter proposal, or vote on his.  So this is where the speculation that the final deal may be centered on the $400,000 threshold if it comes from the GOP, and is embedded in a package they will say yes too.  

 

That opening offer lowered expectations on Capitol Hill that a breakthrough could be pending, but behind the scenes, talks continued, focusing on a possibly higher threshold of $400,000. Senator Max Baucus of Montana, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said sentiment is “gelling” around a new offer, and a source familiar with the negotiations said the president would ask Republican and Democratic leaders what proposal could win majority support in the House and Senate.

The source said that the president would use the opportunity to make the case for a proposal that he believed could pass both the House and Senate, one that included extending lower tax rates for household income of $250,000 or less and an extension of unemployment insurance for two million Americans who are about to lose their benefits. The official said that the president intended to ask the Congressional leaders for a counterproposal or to allow an up-or-down vote on his outlined plan. ...

Some spending cuts would pay for a provision putting off a sudden cut in payments to medical providers treating Medicare patients. The deal would also prevent an expansion of the alternative minimum tax to keep it from hitting more of the middle class. It would extend a raft of already expired business tax cuts, like the research and development credit, and would renew tax cuts for the working poor and the middle class included in the 2009 stimulus law. The estate tax would stay at current levels.

It would not stop automatic spending cuts from hitting military and domestic programs beginning on Wednesday, nor would it raise the statutory borrowing limit, which will be reached on Monday. Congressional aides said those issues would be dealt with early next year in yet another showdown.

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