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Obama makes concession on "fiscal cliff" deal

Shifts position on tax.

Congressional Republicans and the White House moved closer to a US budget deal on Monday night, as Obama made a significant change in his position on tax hikes.

The White House has been calling for raised tax rates on households making more than $250,000 a year, but has now stepped away from this in an effort to move negotiations forward.

This has been reported as a major step in resolving differences over how to deal with the "fiscal cliff". Here's the FT:

US President Barack Obama offered to back away from his position that tax hikes should begin at $250,000 in annual income, delivering a fresh concession to congressional Republicans as talks to avert the fiscal cliff intensified in Washington.

The White House proposal would leave lower tax rates in place for everyone except those earning $400,000 or more a year. Republican leaders had asked for a higher limit but the offer suggests there is a narrowing in the gap between the two sides.

There are still issues for Republicans and Democrats to resolve, including spending cuts to health and pension programmes.