President Obama met with Congressional leaders last Friday to begin working toward a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. Reportedly, the talks had an optimistic tone, and leaders seem to be willing to reconcile their differences in the coming months. However, this was not the only development that took place at the end of last week.
Meanwhile, another meeting hosted by Reps. Steven LaTourette (R-OH), Jim Cooper (D-TN), Mike Simpson (R-ID), and Heath Shuler (D-NC) hoped to build support for not just an alternative to the fiscal cliff, but a "Go Big" deal that would adequately address our unsustainable fiscal path. They working to gain the kind of support we saw in the last "Go Big" letter to the leaders of the Super Committee last November, when 45 Senators and 100 Representatives signed a letter calling for a deal large enough to stabilize and reduce the debt. Hopefully, a new letter will persuade the leaders against kicking the can down the road again. Said Shuler:
Everything is on the table. We should be able to send a really strong message to our leaders to let them know to come up with a really large deal and that we’ll have their back....
We all want to go big and we all want to do this right the first time. The thing we don’t want to do is do something small or kick the can down the road.
A further development is that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has already indicated that she was seeking a $4 trillion deficit reduction package, giving us hope that this desire to "Go Big" on a grand bargain extends all the way to the top. She also said that the Friday talks showed the leadership as being on track for an agreement and accordance about how they would move forward to reach it.
It's encouraging to see growing bipartisan support for a significant and large deficit reduction package. Maybe these Members of Congress are taking a hint from their constituents and the over 300,000 people who have signed the petition to Fix the Debt. A comprehensive deal with smart tax increases and spending cuts could protect the economy and the disadvantaged while sufficiently addressing the debt. We hope the leaders of both parties are listening.