Details are emerging on Treasury secretary Tim Geithner's trek to Capitol Hill today to present the White House's wish list in the fiscal cliff talks, a move that "in some sense amounts to a formal start of negotiations," reports the Wall Street Journal. The short version seems to be that he asked for a lot—the proposal was "loaded with Democratic priorities and short on detailed spending cuts," says the New York Times—and Republicans let him know it. "No substantive progress has been made in the talks between the White House and the House over the last two weeks," complained John Boehner afterward. Added Mitch McConnell: The White House has taken a "step backward."
Some highlights of what Geithner requested, from the Times, Journal, and Washington Post:
- No more debt ceiling—Congress would no longer need to approve an increase in the federal borrowing limit. It could try to block one, but the president would be able to veto.
- $1.6 trillion in tax increases over 10 years, including an immediate increase in rates for the richest Americans. (Politico says the final figure will be closer to $1.2 trillion once all the "huffing and puffing" is over.)
- $400 billion in savings over a decade from Medicare and other entitlement programs.
- $50 billion in new stimulus spending on infrastructure.
- Extensions of the payroll tax holiday and emergency jobless benefits.