Signs point to Repub­li­cans re­lent­ing on tax rates

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Brian Knowl­ton and­Jackie Calmes

A small but grow­ing group of Repub­li­cans say the party should per­haps ac­cede to Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s de­mand for higher tax rates for top earn­ers so that the at­ten­tion can shift to mak­ing se­ri­ous cuts in ben­ef­fit pro­grams like Medi­care and Med- icaid, a top Repub­li­can se­na­tor said Sun­day.

Sen. Bob Corker of Ten­nessee, a mem­ber of the Bank­ing Com­mit­tee who has pre­sented a def­ficit-re­duc­tion plan of his own, said on “Fox News Sun­day” that if Repub­li­cans gave in to the pres­i­dent’s chief de­mand, then “all of a sud­den, the shift goes back to en­ti­tle­ments and maybe it puts us in a place where we ac­tu­ally can do some­thing that really saves the na­tion.”

Within hours of Corker’s com­ments, Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met pri­vately at the White House for ne­go­ti­a­tions. Ad­min­is­tra­tion of­f­cials would not ofler de­tails of the dis­cus­sion.

The dis­clo­sure of the meet­ing, how­ever, in­di­cated that pri­vate dis­cus­sions con­tinue in the face of Repub- li­can lead­ers’ pub­lic state­ments de­cry­ing the lack of progress and the pres­i­dent’s re­fusal so far to spec­ify the sort of deep, long-term re­duc­tions in spend­ing for Medi­care and other so­cial pro­grams that they in­sist upon as a con­di­tion of their sup­port for rais­ing taxes on high earn­ers.

The White House and

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