The Council on Foreign Relations has joined in on those warning of the dangers of the fiscal cliff due to hit early January and unsustainable rising levels of debt. The helpful "backgrounder" piece explains both the domestic, national security, and economic consequences of the cliff as well as some context to how we got to this point.
Yesterday the Senate voted on two highly polarized tax plans, with a Democratic version passing 51-48 while the Republican supported bill failing to pass 45-54. Neither were paid for—the Republican plan cost $405 billion and the Democratic plan cost $250 billion ($368 billion including excluded elements)—nor took any initiative on long-term deficit reduction.
A few members of Congress are now proposing House-Senate working groups to try and negotiate a compromise that would avoid the squester. From The Hill:
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said that forming the bipartisan working groups would be a critical piece in getting lawmakers in both chambers on the same page, regarding the automatic defense cuts under sequestration.
Recently, both the House and Senate proposed cuts to the Department of Agriculture. Though the proposals are fairly similar in magnitude, they achieve their savings in very different ways. With the 2008 Farm Bill expiring in September, it will be interesting to see how these bills will shape the final outcome for that legislation.
At a press conference today, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) put forward a budget resolution that his Committee will be marking up starting tomorrow, one that is based on the Fiscal Commission plan. He explained the logic in proposing this budget rather than a strictly Democratic proposal:
Super Not So Duper – The word “super” has lost its luster lately. The failure of the Super Committee and the need for a super majority in the Senate to pass virtually anything have contributed to record-low approval ratings for Congress. Meanwhile, Super PACs are pouring unlimited funds into campaigns, resulting in even more negative advertising than usual and rising concerns that the political process is being distorted.