Signs of Deal Emerging amid Fiscal Cliff Rhetoric

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In Washington right now both sides are still trading barbs on the fast-approaching fiscal cliff. 

The pressure: reach a deal by Jan. 1 or cuts go into effect that could raise unemployment and force the economy back into a recession.

But the two sides cannot seem to agree, especially when it comes to how to tax top income-earners.

"We're going to have to see the rates on the top 2 percent go up and we're not going to be able to get a deal without it," President Obama warned.

But Republicans say tax hikes on the wealthy are not the solution.

"Tax increases he wants would fail to make even a small dent in the debt, but would hurt middle class businesses and the people who work for them," Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said.

Behind the scenes, however, insiders say the White House and House Republicans are beginning to identify areas of significant overlap. And these areas could form the basis for a final agreement on the fiscal cliff.

So just what are these signs of hope?

Both sides now concede that tax revenue and reduction in entitlement spending are essential elements of any deal.

A likely scenario: House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, will yield on raising tax rates for top earners and the White House will bend on Medicare and Social Security cuts.

Already the president said he's willing to raise the age of Medicare benefits to 67.

The president also said he will consider lowering tax rates for the top 2 percent of earners, not now but next year as part of an effort to close loopholes.

And both sides are close, at least in theory, on cutting spending on a host of miscellaneous programs and fees.

Meanwhile, Senate and House chaplains have been opening each session with prayer that lawmakers will do their jobs and seek God's direction.

One guest chaplain prayed that lawmakers will understand that America can't afford to live without God.

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Heather Sells

Heather Sells

CBN News Reporter

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