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Amid Newtown grief, will a 'fiscal cliff' deal quietly get done?

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Joshua Roberts/REUTERS

(Read caption) Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner walked to his office in the Capitol after meeting with President Obama at the White House in Washington Monday.

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In the wake of the terrible tragedy in Newtown, Conn., many in Washington have noted that the "fiscal cliff" suddenly doesn’t seem all that momentous, after all.

Instead of a big, year-end showdown over taxes and spending, it’s looking as if lawmakers may wind up quietly settling the matter in the coming days, without much fighting or fanfare. The simple fact is, it’s hard to envision anyone choosing to dig in their heels in an ugly stalemate over fiscal matters when the entire nation is grieving the murders of 20 schoolchildren and their teachers.

On Monday, President Obama met again with House Speaker John Boehner – presumably to discuss in earnest the offer Mr. Boehner made over the weekend, in which he agreed for the first time to raise tax rates. According to reports, Boehner’s proposal would raise rates on those earning more than $1 million a year, along with closing some loopholes and eliminating deductions, for a total of $1 trillion in new tax revenues over 10 years.

The proposal also calls for about $1 trillion in spending cuts, at least some of which would come from entitlement programs. In addition, there are reports that Boehner also has agreed to raise the debt ceiling – averting another potential crisis – in return for the broader cuts in spending. 

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