With President Obama preparing to meet with congressional leaders from both major parties at the White House later this morning, there are a variety of reports about the outlines of what may — and we stress the word may -- be a deal on a multitrillion-dollar deficit-reduction plan.
We'll start with this from NPR's Marilyn Geewax:
"Republicans repeatedly have said they would not increase tax revenues as part of a budget deal. But on Wednesday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), suggested House Republicans may be willing to eliminate particular tax breaks under certain conditions.
" 'If the president wants to talk loopholes, we'll be glad to talk loopholes,' Cantor said, adding that closing any loopholes 'should be coupled with offsetting tax cuts somewhere else.' "
On Morning Edition, The Wall Street Journal's David Wessel pointed out that the White House position is that any changes in the tax code have to end up bringing in more money — not the same or less. So Cantor's suggestion may not fly with Obama and his fellow Democrats.
But The Washington Post writes about a White House pitch that might bridge the gap between Republicans and Democrats: "President Obama is pressing congressional leaders to consider a far-reaching debt-reduction plan that would force Democrats to accept major changes to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for Republican support for fresh tax revenue. ... As part of his pitch, Obama is proposing significant reductions in Medicare spending and for the first time is offering to tackle the rising cost of Social Security, according to people in both parties with knowledge of the proposal."
The New York Times adds that Obama's proposal follows "what knowledgeable officials said was an overture from [House Speaker John] Boehner [R-OH], who met secretly with Mr. Obama last weekend, to consider as much as $1 trillion in unspecified new revenues as part of an overhaul of tax laws in exchange for an agreement that made substantial spending cuts, including in such social programs as Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security — programs that had been off the table."
Bear in mind, though, what NPR's Andrea Seabrook said in a report for our Newscast Desk: "As lawmakers like to say, 'there's no final deal until there is.' "
Deadlines to keep in mind: The Treasury Department says the government won't be able to pay its bills after Aug. 2 unless the federal debt ceiling is increased; and the administration says a budget-debt-debt ceiling deal needs to be hammered out by July 22 to give everyone time to put it all into legislative language.