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Durbin: White House won't increase Medicare age

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ANDREW TAYLOR | December 13, 2012 02:47 PM EST | AP

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WASHINGTON — One of President Barack Obama's Senate allies said Thursday that an increase in the Medicare eligibility age is "no longer one of the items being considered by the White House" in negotiations with top Republicans on avoiding the so-called fiscal cliff.

But Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin said he didn't get it directly from the president or the White House. However, he is regularly updated on the negotiations.

Increasing the eligibility age is a key demand by Republicans seeking cost curbs in popular benefit programs in exchange for higher tax revenues.

Obama and House Speaker John Boehner remain far apart on a potential agreement to avoid a looming "fiscal cliff" of expiring tax cuts and across-the-board spending cuts.