Dec. 15: Politico reports that in a phone conversation the day before, Boehner made a major concession by offering to let tax rates rise on people earning over $1 million, the first time he has floated the idea of allowing rates to rise. The offer would raise roughly $1 trillion in new revenue, up from a previous offer of $800 billion. He promises a rewrite of tax code next year to limit deductions and asks for $1 trillion in entitlement-program savings, including about $200 billion over next decade by switching to a chained CPI measure for Social Security cost-of-living adjustments.
Dec. 16: The Washington Post reports that Boehner has offered to push any fight for a debt-limit increase off for a year. Boehner’s office pushes back on the report, saying the speaker’s position has always been that an increase in the debt ceiling would require cuts and reforms of a greater size.
Dec. 17: After a morning meeting at the White House between Obama and Boehner that lasted about 45 minutes, the White House sends over a new offer. It raises taxes on households making above $400,000 (up from their previous baseline of $250,000); raises $1.2 trillion in new revenue (down from their previous offers of $1.6 trillion, and then $1.4 trillion); and agrees to use the chained CPI to measure inflation in entitlement benefits, a major Democratic concession. The offer also permanently extends the alternative minimum tax patch (the so-called doc-fix that stabilizes Medicare reimbursement rates) and tax extenders that give businesses breaks for things like research and development and renewable-energy production. Boehner’s office insists that the savings from entitlement programs, non-health programs and discretionary spending is lower than revenue and therefore not balanced.
Dec. 18: Ahead of a morning meeting with the House Republican Conference to sell the idea of raising taxes on millionaires, Boehner says he intends to keep negotiating with Obama but pursue a Plan B. On Thursday, his office planned to offer bill on floor to raise taxes on households earning over $1 million. The White House rejected the plan, saying it will not pass the Senate since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was clear he will not take it up. The same day, Nabors was dispatched to the Hill to brief House Democrats on the White House’s latest offer, though many members expressed concern about cuts to Social Security benefits.