The end of the year is two weeks away and the so-called "fiscal cliff" still looms. At the turn of the New Year, $600 billion in automatic spending cuts and tax hikes are set to take effect if Democrats and Republicans in Congress cannot come together over a fiscal deficit reduction deal.
But there are signs that a stalemate may have been broken.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday he is now willing to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, those individuals making more than a $1 million a year. Conservatives have been staunchly opposed to raising taxes on anyone next year, regardless of income bracket.
Boehner's overture is encouraging but it does not align exactly with the president's proposal to raise taxes above the $250,000 threshold.
"While there is still a lot of ground to cover here, this is a sign of progress," says The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task.
Boehner's counteroffer also includes a debt ceiling component tied to spending cuts. If President Obama agrees to $1 trillion in federal savings from programs like Medicare and Medicaid, Boehner will agree to extend the U.S. government's line of credit to at least 2014.
"My faith in my government is coming back a little bit," says Henry Blodget. "Finally at the 11th hour some reasonability on the part of the Republicans...what could be more sensible than raising taxes on people who make $1 million a year or more, perfectly reasonable."
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