In an op-ed today in the Washington Post, CRFB board members Erskine Bowles and Senator Alan Simpson argue that the Gang of Six -- despite hitting a few speed bumps -- are not only still relevant, but "it offers the last, best hope for a comprehensive bipartisan deficit reduction agreement in this Congress," as policymakers on both sides of the aisle have recognized.
Feeling the Heat – As most of us return to work this week nursing sunburns and swapping stories of grilling glory, the heat is on in Washington, at least on one side of Capitol Hill. Senators are out of town this week, but Representatives are working on appropriations. Meanwhile, the debt limit deadline continues to draw closer.
Update: Check out our release on these "commonalities" here.
Crunch Time – The playoffs are well underway in the NBA and NHL. A playoff atmosphere is also brewing in Washington even though the home teams are not in the picture. A debt limit deadline and several teams competing for debt reduction glory are creating an air of anticipation and trepidation. Who will go home and who will go all the way?
No Deficit of Talk – At least there no longer is a deficit of discussion when it comes to our fiscal situation. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) gave a major address Monday night to the Economic Club of New York where he said that increasing the statutory debt limit should be accompanied by spending cuts greater than the amount of the debt limit increase.
According to a recent article in Politico, Speaker of the House John Boehner will call for spending cuts that are "greater than the accompanying increase in debt authority the president is given" to be attached to any increase in the debt limit. According to Treasury estimates, Rep. Boehner's plan would require $2 trillion in cuts in order to raise the debt ceiling through 2012.
What Will Bloom This Month? – In April we were showered with fiscal policy developments: namely, a last-minute FY 2011 budget deal; a deluge of budget plans from across the political spectrum (see here, here, here and here ); House passage of a FY 2012 budget resolution; a major fiscal policy speech from President Obama along with a new fiscal framework; and a steady stream of budget process ideas.
Today, Comeback America Initiative founder and CEO Dave Walker (former U.S. comptroller general) and Concord Coalition executive director Bob Bixby published an op-ed in POLITICO. They write that the nation has some very difficult fiscal choices ahead, and that the only way policymakers will ever truly be able to put the big ticket items on the table is if there is greater public understanding of the nation's fiscal challenges and the kinds of significant structural reforms we will need to make to solve them.
The bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers hand-picked by congressional leaders had its first meeting today with Vice President Joe Biden to discuss a possible debt reduction agreement. In a statement afterwards, the Vice President said that the meeting was “productive” and that the working group will meet again on Tuesday, May 10.