"A highly cautious, bureaucratic process that had the effect of watering down the U.S.'s own intelligence" led to the controversial "talking points" that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice used when she spoke about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, The Wall Street Journal reports this morning.
As leaders in Washington try to make a deal to avoid the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts slated to go into effect in the new year, one major focus of the negotiations is whether to let taxes go up on the rich.
The Obama administration wants to allow the Bush-era tax cuts to expire for top earners. House Speaker John Boehner and congressional Republicans have countered with a proposal that they say would raise revenue through ending loopholes and deductions in the tax code and would not increase tax rates.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
I'm Melissa Block.
And today there is a counter offer. Republicans have put forward the broad strokes of their proposal to avert the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled at the end of the year. It should sound familiar to those who followed the presidential campaign. House Speaker Jon Boehner offered a plan that borrows heavily from ideas put forth by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
And now, The Opinion Page; in fact a first, an Opinion Page series on the latest round of arguments on taxes and spending that have come to national attention under the ominous term the fiscal cliff. At the moment, the White House and congressional Republicans are at an impasse, and if that sounds familiar, that's because they arrived at a similar stalemate last year. When a subsequent supercommittee failed to reach agreement, the clock started ticking.
We're close to reaching the breaking point. The White House knows it. Democrats and Republicans in Congress know it. Wall Street knows it, economists know it. We've been pushing this off for quite some time, and now it's time to take action.
Of course, I'm talking about solving this week's ScuttleButton puzzle.
The battle over the looming spending cuts and tax increases known as the "fiscal cliff" begins this week where it ended last week — deadlocked. While there is no agreement on how lawmakers should work out the details of a compromise, there is widespread consensus that a deal must get done for the good of the country.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says it's up to congressional Republicans to take the next step in budget talks to avoid the pending automatic spending cuts and tax increases at the end of the year.
As Congress and the White House battle over a tax and spending plan before the end of the year, one number is at the forefront: $250,000. That's the income level above which the White House wants taxes to rise. Host Guy Raz speaks with Reuters personal finance columnist Linda Stern about where that amount of money goes a long way, and where it doesn't. Plus NPR's Mara Liasson weighs in on the state of budget talks in Washington.