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Boehner offers tax increase on $1 million-plus along with entitlement cuts, Obama turns it down

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By Doug Powers  •  December 16, 2012 02:27 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

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Before proceeding, you’d better put on a hard hat… just in case.

Here’s our fiscal cliff update for the weekend:

Signaling new movement in “fiscal cliff” talks, House Speaker John Boehner has proposed raising the top rate for earners making more than $1 million, a person familiar with the negotiations said. President Barack Obama, who wants higher top rates for households earning more than $250,000, has not accepted the offer, this person said.

The proposal, however, indicated progress in talks that had appeared stalled. The person would only discuss the plan on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.

Leaving $250k to $999k earners with no tax increase coupled with the large spending cuts in Boehner’s proposal means the offer was destined to be turned down, which it was:

President Barack Obama is not ready to accept a new offer from the Republican leader of the U.S. the House of Representatives to raise taxes on top earners in exchange for major cuts in entitlement programs, a source said late Saturday.

The shape and details of Boehner’s offer were uncertain Saturday night, as was the exact reason the president was prepared to reject it.

The source said Obama sees the offer made on Friday by U.S. House Speaker John Boehner as a sign of progress, but simply believes it is not enough and there is much more to be worked out before Obama can reciprocate.

Is there a strategy to Boehner’s approach, or is this just the start of the cave-in process? That’s more of a rhetorical question, because there will be no putting that tax increase genie back in the bottle, and the White House knows it. Obama’s strategy is probably to keep sending these offers back with a note attached saying “you’re getting warmer” until the Republicans accidentally counter with more than Obama was asking in the first place. I say that half jokingly — okay, maybe quarter jokingly.

Remember — last week NYT reporter Helene Cooper said there’s a palpable atmosphere of cockiness at the White House and that Team Obama doesn’t feel they should have to negotiate:

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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