Obama seeks new unilateral -- and permanent -- power to raise debt limit...

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The Obama administration's opening bid on Thursday in negotiations to avert a year-end fiscal crunch included a demand for new stimulus spending and authority to unilaterally raise the U.S. borrowing ceiling, a Republican congressional aide said.

The proposal, made by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to congressional Republican leaders on Capitol Hill, was seen as offering little the Republicans could agree to and was greeted with laughter, the aide said.

"We can't move any closer to them because they're not even on our planet," the aide said. "It was not a serious proposal."

Obama and congressional Republicans are returning to the bargaining table to prevent across-the board tax increases and deep spending cuts, the so-called fiscal cliff, from taking effect next year.

Read more via Reuters...