Posts Tagged Erskine Bowles
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.
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.