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Boehner offers tax increase for entitlement cuts: source

Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner speaks to reporters in the Capitol in Washington December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner speaks to reporters in the Capitol in Washington December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner has offered to raise tax rates on high earners to break the "fiscal cliff" deadlock in exchange for major cuts in entitlement programs, but President Barack Obama is not ready to accept, a source said late Saturday.

While the White House considers Boehner's offer "progress," the source said more remained to be worked out between the two.

Tax rates are a major sticking point in negotiations to avert steep automatic tax hikes and budget cuts set for the end of the year if a deal isn't reached. Republicans have resisted Obama's demand to extend lower tax rates for everyone except top earners, preferring to extend them for all taxpayers.

The Boehner offer was the first departure from the position the House speaker has held for months.

(Editing by Fred Barbash, Todd Eastham and Paul Simao)

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