SECRET TALKS

Obama, Republicans Plot Tax Cuts

GOP lawmakers have spent the past few days declaring their unwillingness to compromise on just about anything, but is it all just talk? In private, they're very close to a deal with President Obama that would temporarily extend the Bush tax cuts for all income brackets—one of Republicans' key policy goals—and also authorize up to $150 billion to fund the government for the next year. The deal would also extend unemployment benefits, which expired last Tuesday and Republicans have threatened to block. Democrats are grousing that Obama is conceding too much to the GOP with an entire month left in the current lame-duck session. But Obama's end of the deal would stave off the expiration of a host of other, less prominent tax cuts that benefit college students and poor working families, and would raise the government's debt ceiling just months before an increase is necessary.