Congressional Republicans and Democrats struggled Wednesday to salvage a yearlong assault on federal deficits, their efforts hampered by politically-charged disagreements over taxes and the future of enormously expensive government benefit programs.

The talks at a standstill, Democratic officials disclosed they had floated a secret counteroffer late last week to generally accept a Republican framework for a $1.5 trillion compromise, while differing on numerous key details.

The officials said Democrats signaled a willingness to cut spending by $876 billion, including $225 billion from Medicare and $225 billion from Medicaid, and raise tax revenue by $400 billion, far less than they had earlier demanded.

They also recommended using $700 billion in unused war-fighting money for a jobs program and extend financing for doctors who treat Medicare patients.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)