Posts Tagged Erskine Bowles

President Obama and Speaker Boehner meet at White House to discuss Fiscal Cliff

English: U.S. President is greeted by Speaker ...


For the first time in more than three weeks, President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met face-to-face Sunday at the White House to talk about avoiding the fiscal cliff. White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest would offer no details saying only, “The lines of communication remain open.”

Erskine Bowles, the co-creator of a debt reducing plan, who was pessimistic a couple weeks ago, said he likes what he’s hearing. “Any time you have two guys in there tangoing, you have a chance to get it done,” Bowles said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Obama and the White House’s bargaining team insist on raising tax rates for the nation’s highest earners, they are not demanding the precise 39.6 percent top rate spelled out in the president’s budget. And in the past few days, Republican congressional leaders have reiterated their opposition to rate increases without explicitly ruling them out.

“We’re getting down to as late as it’s physically possible to actually turn a framework into enactable legislation and then actually get it passed,” said Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., who is anticipating a complicated bill with “many real consequences for average Americans’ lives.” He added: “For senators to responsibly vote on a big, bold framework or package, we need time to review, debate and discuss this. And we are rapidly running out of running room.”

Both parties have incentive, however. The “fiscal cliff” is a series of tax hikes and budget cuts that kick in next year if the White House and Congress are unable to reach a debt reduction agreement. That prospect affects every American, and could ring down a new recession. There’s also the holiday incentive. Many members of both parties would like to get something done by Christmas. For that to happen, given the congressional calender, the president and the Speaker will probably need to put up something by the end of this week.

Obama wants $1.6 trillion over the next decade, but many Democrats privately say they would settle for $1.2 trillion. Boehner has offered $800 billion, and Republicans are eager to keep the final tax figure under $1 trillion, noting that a measure to raise taxes on the rich passed by the Senate this summer would have generated only $831 billion.

Savings from health and retirement programs, a concession from Democrats necessary to sell tax hikes to GOP lawmakers. Obama has proposed $350 billion in health savings over the next decade. Boehner has suggested $600 billion from health programs and an additional $200 billion from using a stingier measure of inflation, reducing cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security recipients.

Bipartisan votes in the Republican-run House of Representatives and Democratic-controlled Senate probably will be needed to pass any Obama-Boehner deal, giving the minorities in both chambers power in the negotiations.

Although the president has been criticized by Republicans for “campaign style” rallies on the “fiscal cliff,” the president today will hit the road when he heads to Michigan to tour Daimler’s Detroit Diesel Corporation.

The White House said he will talk again about the “fiscal cliff” and, if a deal isn’t struck before the end of the year, how devastating it will be to the economy and the middle class. His remarks come on the heels of his weekly address over the weekend where he repeated that he won’t budge on letting the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy expire.

Whatever the president and Speaker of the House agree to, the Republican-run House and Democratic Senate must vote to approve it.


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President Obama to meet with Governors on deficit reduction

Obama meets Governors

A bipartisan delegation of state governors are set to meet with President Barack Obama and congressional leaders in search of some answers about the impact of deficit reduction measures on their state budgets and the “Fiscal Cliff”, which rely heavily on federal aid.

Federal grants to the states comprise about a third of state revenues in the United States, according to the Pew Center on the States.

Cutbacks in federal contracting due to the automatic budget cuts set for Jan. 1 will also reduce employment levels regionally, with the heaviest impact expected in areas with large numbers of defense contractors.

The governors making the rounds Tuesday, who hold leadership positions in the National Governors Association, are Democrats Jack Markell of Delaware, Mark Dayton of Minnesota and Mike Beebe of Arkansas and Republican Gary Herbert of Utah, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Mary Fallin of Oklahoma.

The so-called fiscal cliff refers to combination of government spending cuts and tax rises due to be implemented under existing law starting New Year’s Day that may cut the federal budget deficit but also tip the economy back into recession.

But with Republicans and Democrats still in preliminary stages of negotiations over how to avoid the steep tax hikes and spending cuts set for the end of the year, these NGA leaders may leave frustrated, as have numerous other delegations of civic, union and business leaders trooping to Washington in the past few months.

Republicans proposed steep spending cuts on Monday but gave no ground on Obama’s call to raise taxes on the wealthiest in their first formal proposal to avert the fiscal cliff.

The White House dismissed the Republican proposal within an hour of its being made public, the same treatment Republicans gave Obama’s deficit reduction plan last week.

While the offers and counteroffers between Republicans and Democrats may ultimately create the conditions for actually getting in a room together and bargaining at length, so far the moves have been out in public and mostly for show.

It’s “just a Kabuki theater you go through” so far, Erskine Bowles said in an interview Monday evening on PBS’ “Newshour.” Bowles was co-chair with former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson of a deficit reduction commission widely praised for its recommendations two years ago but never accepted by either party.

“They’re going to have to get together at some point in time when the time is right in a conference room and go through these three big items,” Bowles said.

That theater is likely to continue Tuesday when Democrats in the House of Representatives begin an effort to force a vote on tax hikes on the wealthy, over the objections of the Republican-controlled House, which is not expected to bring a bill to the floor until a bargain is struck.

Under House rules, the minority Democrats would need about 26 Republican votes to succeed with their “discharge petition,” and the process takes so long that it would likely be weeks before a vote would actually take place.

“We just don’t know what Washington’s going to do,” Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin told The Oklahoman on the eve of her departure for Washington

The city is now awash in competing plans to cut the exploding Federal deficit.

A think tank with ties to the Obama administration laid out another one Tuesday, urging the president to go bold and seek more concessions from Republicans on tax hikes.

The $4.1 trillion deficit-cutting plan from the Center for American Progress seeks $1.8 trillion in new revenue, compared with Obama’s call to raise $1.6 trillion.

It also calls for a 28 percent tax on capital gains income for high earners, whereas Obama has called for about a 24 percent tax rate, including new taxes from the healthcare overhaul.

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President Obama wants Tax Hikes but ignores talk of spending cuts.

Barack Obama

In another type of campaign by President Obama just over a month after his marathon presidential campaign, the president is now appealing directly to the public for ta increases while not mentioning spending cuts.

Rather than persuade independent voters, as he did during his 2012 re-election campaign, Obama now seeks to pressure congressional Republicans into backing a debt reduction plan that includes higher taxes on the nation’s wealthiest.

To that end, Obama spoke Wednesday with an invited group of middle class Americans who would see their taxes go up if the White House and congressional Republicans are unable to strike a deal before the end of the year.

Obama and Congress are looking to head off the so-called “fiscal cliff,” a series of tax hikes and budget cuts that kick in next year if the parties can’t reach an agreement.

the president does seem willing to allow the across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts to kick in at the end of the year if House Republicans refuse to allow tax rates to go up for top earners.

Obama is treating the negotiations over tax rates and spending as a continuation of the debt-ceiling fight that created the automatic spending cuts in the first place.

Having won re-election and with current tax rates set to expire, Obama is looking to do a deal limited in scope to those issues. If Republicans would like to avoid automatic, long-term reductions in defense spending, Obama believes that the money should come from higher rates for top earners.

And if Republicans won’t agree, Obama is sending strong signals that he will let the hikes and cuts occur and then resume negotiations amid a deeper crisis.

Promoting an agreement that includes higher taxes on the rich as well as budget cuts, Obama and aides have begun a public relations campaign that takes many forms.

On Monday, the administration issued a report on the economic impact of the fiscal cliff, including average tax hikes of $2,200 for the kinds of families invited to the White House on Wednesday.

On Friday, Obama visits the kind of business that would see its sales drop if the government drops off the fiscal cliff: A toy factory near Philadelphia.

The White House is also trying to drum up support through social media, including the new Twitter hastag “My2K.”

These events take place amid rising concern that the parties will be unable to reach an agreement, and the economy will face the sudden shock of automatic tax hikes and budget cuts.

“I think the probability is we’re going over the cliff,”said Erskine Bowles, the former co-chairman of President Obama’s debt commission.

Republicans say they support the idea of new government revenues, but by closing tan loopholes, not by increasing tax rates.

GOP officials are also deriding Obama’s campaign effort, saying he should be using the time to negotiate.

“Every week he spends campaigning for his ideas is a week that we’re not solving the problem,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

All political leaders are now resembling actors out of Hollywood trying to talk tough and appeal to their bases meanwhile, American and their national interest continue to be ignored in favor of party politics. Where’s the new start President Obama promised if elected to a 2nd term? a forgotten memory on the campaign trail.

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