Boehner Sounds Notes of Optimism on Cliff Deal

Boehner Sounds Notes of Optimism on Cliff Deal

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This morning House Speaker John Boehner voiced optimism that Republicans could broker a deal with the White House to avoid year-end austerity measures, saying the GOP was willing to put revenues on the table if Democrats agreed to spending cuts.

“I am optimistic we can continue to work together to avert this crisis sooner rather than later," the Ohio Republican told reporters. “We (Republicans) put revenue on the table as long as it is accompanied by serious spending cuts to avert this crisis.”  - Read more at Reuters 

EARLY HOLIDAY PRESENT?    On Tuesday, meanwhile, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla.,  urged colleagues to vote to extend the  current tax rates for all but the highest earners before the end of the year while leaving the question of  how much the rich should pay until next year,  Politico reports.

At a meeting of the House GOP whip team earlier in the day, Cole  made the case that Republicans would strengthen their position by joining hands with   President Obama now to give most taxpayers what Cole  calls “an early Christmas present” of ensuring their taxes don’t go up on Jan. 1. “I think we ought to take the 98 percent deal right now,” he said of freezing income tax rates for all but the top 2 percent of earners. “It doesn't mean I agree with raising the top 2 [percent].  I don't.”  -  Read more at Politico

DEMOCRATS  STEP UP  DEMANDS    Congressional Democrats are becoming more aggressive in laying down demands before negotiations over a fiscal cliff deal begin to heat up – with a special focus on the debt ceiling and entitlement reform.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and other Democrats said Tuesday that another increase in the Treasury’s borrowing authority must be part of a fiscal cliff deal. “We would be somewhat foolish to work out something on stopping us from going over the cliff and then a month or six weeks later, the Republicans would pull the same game they did before,” said Reid, referring to the difficult negotiations a year ago over raising the debt ceiling the last time.

Senate Democrats also stressed  they would not agree to any reforms to entitlement programs that include cutting spending on Medicare or Medicaid beneficiaries before the end of the year. The White House has also made clear that cuts to Social Security are off the table.  -  Read more at The Hill 

BIG BUSINESS EXECS GO TO WASHINGTON   Goldman Sach’s Lloyd Blankfein and a handful of other CEOs from big-name corporations are meeting at the White House Wednesday afternoon  so that Obama  can again make his pitch to raise tax rates on the nation’s top earners.   Meanwhile, House Republicans are hosting a meeting of their own  at the Capitol  today with influential business leaders. including the Caterpillar Inc’s Doug Oberhelman,   Blankfein, Allstate’s Thomas Wilson, Aetna’s Mark Bertolini, Tenneco’s Greg Sherrill and Honeywell’s David Cote. The CEOs are part of the Fix the Debt campaign that favors a balanced approach to reducing the deficit,  and will be joined on Capitol Hill by Erskine Bowles, co-chair of the Fix the Debt campaign and former co-chair of President Obama’s fiscal commission. 

The CEOs attending the White House meeting on Wednesday include:
• Frank Blake, Chairman and CEO, Home Depot Inc.
• Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
• Joe Echeverria, CEO, Deloitte LLP
• Ken Frazier, President and CEO, Merck and Co.
• Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO, Coca Cola Co.
• Terry Lundgren, Chairman, President, and CEO, Macy’s Inc.
• Marissa Mayer, CEO and President, Yahoo Inc.
• Douglas Oberhelman, Chairman and CEO, Caterpillar Inc.
• Ian Read, Chairman and CEO, Pfizer Inc.
• Brian Roberts, Chairman and CEO, Comcast Corp.
• Ed Rust, Chairman and CEO, State Farm Insurance Co.
• Arne Sorenson, President and CEO, Marriott International Inc.
• Randall Stephenson, Chairman and CEO, AT&T Inc.
• Patricia Woertz, President and CEO, Archer Daniels Midland Co. 

 -  Read more at The Wall Street Journal 

For more news on the approaching fiscal cliff, follow us on Twitter @Fiscalcliffnote

Brianna Ehley is the former Washington Correspondent for The Fiscal Times. She is currently a reporter on Politico's health care team in Washington, D.C.