Fiscal cliff standoff continues as deadline approaches - New York News

Fiscal cliff standoff continues as deadline approaches

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WASHINGTON -

Republicans float a new proposal in the fiscal cliff standoff, but will it be enough to move the negotiations forward?

When asked is no deal better than a bad deal, President Obama replied, "Thank you, everybody."

The President wouldn't answer any fiscal cliff questions from reporters on Monday, but he did have something new to consider.  A letter from a group of Congressional Republicans outlining what they say is a compromise -- based in part on last year's talks between the President and House Speaker John Boehner.

The GOP plan has a whole laundry list of new revenue and budget cuts -- totaling, using White House math, more than $4 trillion in deficit reduction.

It gets there by not raising tax rates, but instead reducing deductions for the wealthy to generate more money for the government.  And it also tackles entitlements, raising the Medicare eligibility age and reducing the future growth of Social Security benefits -- non-starters for the President and other Democrats who are facing enormous pressure from unions and other groups on the left to leave those programs untouched.

"We should fix it, but that should be separate track conversation, it should not be raiding social security to deal with the deficit," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland.

Responding to questions on Twitter, the President said there simply isn't enough spending in the deal.  Republicans, though, say he needs to accept that costly programs need to be restructured.

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said, "What I want more than anything else is to get he country out of debt in a permanent way.  The big problem with us becoming Greece is not revenue, is not the tax code, it's entitlements."

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