John Boehner inched toward President Obama's position in fiscal cliff talks by offering to increase taxes on the richest Americans—his first concession on marginal tax rates. That would affect at least those earning $1 million or more, sources tell Politico. In return Boehner wants to curb the growth of Medicare and other health programs, but he won't allow extending federal unemployment benefits. That brings Boehner and Obama closer but still miles apart on government revenue: Boehner's new proposal brings him from $800 billion up to $1 trillion, while Obama is holding steady at $1.4 trillion.
Worse, the two are worlds apart when they talk, reports the New York Times. Obama tends to take up 90% of the conversation trying to persuade Boehner, which the speaker considers "an enormous waste of time," says an aide. And Obama has said he could have cut a deal with Bob Dole or Newt Gingrich—or even Boehner, if he "had more control of his caucus." Meanwhile Senate Republicans are considering taking matters into their own hands, by sending a bill to the House that maintains Bush-era tax rates for all but the richest 2% and boosts taxes and dividends on capital gains from 15% to 20%.