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New debt plan targets favored tax deductions

A new bipartisan plan to reduce government borrowing would target some of the most cherished tax breaks enjoyed by millions of families — those promoting health insurance, home ownership, charitable giving and retirement savings — in exchange for lowering overall tax rates for everyone. Many taxpayers would face higher taxes — a total of at least $1.2 trillion over the next decade, and perhaps more. The details and impact of the plan, released this week by the bipartisan “Gang of Six” senators, emerged as President Barack Obama called congressional leaders to the White House on Wednesday to determine, in separate
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Bachmann: Migraines ain’t no big deal

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann sought on Wednesday to reassure voters that her migraines are not debilitating, releasing a doctor’s statement that said she is able to manage them. A report on The Daily Caller website said Bachmann, a deeply conservative member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota, suffers from stress-induced severe headaches that occur about once a week and can “incapacitate” her for days at a time. Bachmann rejected the report and said she controls her migraines easily with prescription medication. Seeking to put the matter to rest, Bachmann’s campaign released a letter by Brian Monahan, the
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‘Gang of Six’ breathes new life into debt talks

For the first time in a long, bitter fight over budget deficits and raising the U.S. debt limit, Democrats and Republicans have found a big idea they both might like: a “Gang of Six” proposal that unexpectedly burst onto the scene on Tuesday. After two months of dormancy, the bipartisan group of six senators outlined a plan to tame annual $1.4 trillion budget deficits in a way that could put the United States onto a fiscally sound path and assuage edgy global financial markets that were heartened by the possible progress. President Barack Obama quickly embraced it, saying it was
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Senate Republicans more flexible in debt standoff

Senate Republicans are showing far more flexibility than their tea party-backed House colleagues as Washington policymakers seek to steer the government away from a first-ever default on its financial obligations. As the House doubled down on a symbolic vote to condition any increase in the government’s borrowing authority on congressional passage of a balanced budget constitutional amendment and a fresh wave of spending cuts, the warm reception by many Senate Republicans to a new bipartisan budget plan revealed a thawing in GOP attitudes on new tax revenues. President Barack Obama also lauded the deficit-reduction plan put forward by a bipartisan
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The magic number: 217

The terms “billions” and “trillions” are tossed around in the nation’s debt ceiling debate. Probably no number, however, is more important than 217. That’s how many votes are needed in the 435-member House, with two vacancies, to pass any measure to raise the nation’s debt limit and avert economic convulsions in about two weeks. Interviews with more than a dozen key players Tuesday suggest it’s possible, but not easy. The Senate, with its competing proposals from the “Gang of Six” and Republican leader Mitch McConnell, has dominated public attention so far. But the GOP-controlled House is the tougher challenge for
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Voters mostly blame Republicans for debt-limit deadlock

American voters have had it with Republican obstructionism in the debt limit debate and continued stonewalling by the GOP could bring payback in the 2012 elections. That’s the indication in a new CBS News poll that finds 71 percent of Americans disapproving of Republican grandstanding in the debt limit crisis. Even more dire for the GOP is the finding that 51 percent of GOP voters saying they disapprove of how their party is handling the situation. Bottom line for the GOP: Stop the showboating and get on board with a deal or Republican lawmakers could join the unemployment lines come
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Rick Perry: Another right-winger for Prez?

Should Rick Perry conclude that voter discontent has left him an opening to enter the presidential race, the longtime Texas governor would be among the GOP field’s most conservative candidates. Primary voters would get a skilled politician with TV anchorman looks, a Southern preacher’s oratory and a cowboy’s swagger, matched by a disarming candor and sense of humor. The former cotton farmer from the village of Paint Creek in West Texas has never lost an election in nearly three decades as a politician. What they wouldn’t get is a candidate whose politics are positioned to unite a Republican electorate that
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Tea party floats its debt plan

The next step in the weeks-long saga over how to increase the government’s borrowing cap is to let House tea party forces try it their way. A Republican “cut, cap and balance” plan set for a House vote Tuesday would condition a $2.4 trillion increase in the so-called debt limit on an immediate $100 billion-plus cut from next year’s budget and adoption by Congress of a constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget. “Let’s let the American people decide,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, on “Fox News Sunday.” ”Do they want something common sense as cutting spending, capping the growth
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Republicans divided on debt debate

It’s no wonder that Republican presidential candidates are divided over whether to increase the federal borrowing limit. Their voters are, too. Fiscal hard-liners in early-voting states say they won’t back someone who supports raising the debt ceiling under any condition. They say the debate in Washington gives the 2012 candidates a chance to show stark differences with Democrat President Barack Obama. Other voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina say they are upset about spending. But they also say the debt ceiling must be raised as part of a broader deficit-reduction strategy. Some candidates oppose an increase. But most
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Once again, Obama plays fast and loose with facts

You might say President Barack Obama cut himself some extra margin of error when he claimed 80 percent of Americans want the debt crisis solved with a mix of tax increases and spending cuts. Polling does suggest, as Obama said, that Americans overall and even Republican voters are open to higher taxes as part of the solution. But claiming support from 8 in 10 people was a reach. A look at his statements on Friday about polling and how they compare with the actual findings: OBAMA: “You have 80 percent of the American people who support a balanced approach. Eighty
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