- Associated Press - Thursday, December 13, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — One of President 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 Sen. Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, 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.

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