WASHINGTON, Dec 17 (Reuters) - In a major counteroffer that
moves the White House and congressional Republicans closer to
resolving the "fiscal cliff" standoff, President Barack Obama is
seeking $1.2 trillion from higher tax revenues, including
increased rates on those earning more than $400,000 a year, a
source familiar with the negotiations said on Monday.
In exchange, the president is willing to agree to $1.22
trillion in spending reductions, including some cuts achieved by
changing the way cost of living adjustments are made to Social
Security retirement benefits and other programs.
"We view this as a good offer that shows we have met the
Republicans more than halfway on spending and halfway on
revenues," the source said.
The offer asks for Congress to increase the national
borrowing ceiling for two years using a parliamentary procedure
proposed by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.
The offer comes as the president and House of
Representatives Speaker John Boehner seek to iron out
differences in an effort to stop automatic tax increases and
spending cuts from going into effect early next year. Analysts
have warned that that abrupt shock could knock the economy back
The president's latest offer shows him willing to give on an
item that some of his supporters had sought to protect --
linking Social Security benefit increases to the chained
consumer price index, a step that would lead to lower payments.
However, the president's proposal would seek to protect
those on whom that change would fall hardest, the source said.
The president's offer also would seek to provide the
sluggish economy a boost by extending unemployment benefits and
increasing infrastructure spending.