Republican House Speaker John Boehner rejected President Obama's opening proposal for a deficit reduction deal to avoid the fiscal cliff — economy-busting tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled to hit starting Jan. 1. The plan, presented to Boehner by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on Thursday, was heavy in Democratic priorities, with $1.6 trillion in tax increases over 10 years and $50 billion in immediate stimulus spending. Obama committed to cutting $400 billion from Medicare and other social programs, but left the details to be worked out later. Boehner said Democrats hadn't gotten "serious about real spending cuts." The White House said the GOP's refusal to hike tax rates on the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans was hindering a deal.
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