The White House is in talks to replace a looming set of spending cuts with smaller budget slashing and tax increases, sources close to the plan are saying. The alternative package is one avenue the administration is exploring to stop a spate of spending cuts and tax increases worth about $500 billion from going into effect next year. The cuts were set last year by the US Congress when deadlocked over whether to raise the country's debt ceiling. Analysts say allowing the cuts to proceed would wreck an already fragile US economic recovery. The White House is expected to begin negotiations with congressional leaders today.