Deficit talks will test GOP focus on tax rates

In this July 24, 2012, photo, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, following a political strategy session, as from back left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Ariz., listen. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In this July 24, 2012, photo, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, following a political strategy session, as from back left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Ariz., listen. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republican leaders say the government can raise tax "revenues" without raising tax "rates."

But they have yet to detail how they would pursue it.

The distinction might mean little to Americans who end up with larger tax bills even if their tax rates don't change.

This politically tricky trade-off is about to take center stage in negotiations over how to reduce the federal deficit and avoid going over the "fiscal cliff" seven weeks from now.

The White House says wealthy Americans must pay a higher tax rate to help produce more revenue to lower the deficit.

Congressional Republicans refuse. But they say they are open to other means of higher tax collections.

That might include limits to popular itemized deductions.


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