Momentum Building for 'Grand Bargain'
The much-anticipated release of a comprehensive deficit reduction package from the Senate's "Gang of Six" yesterday has received a large amount of praise from those on the hill, in the administration, and in the media. The largest take away from the positive response seems to be that momentum is building to a critical mass as more and more lawmakers are showing their support for a "grand bargain" on the debt, seeking a comprehensive plan that can both avert a fiscal crisis and set our country on a sustainable fiscal path going forward. Here are just some of the things being said in Washington and around the country that show us that a grand bargain is still in the cards:
“It’s good news that a significant number of senators, from both parties, appear poised to sign on to a 10-year, $3.7 trillion deficit reduction framework…”
“It is, as President Barack Obama succinctly said, ‘good news’ -- at a time when some is needed.”
"It could be by far the most pro-growth tax change since the 1980s, and the U.S. needs faster economic growth now above all else."
"Fortunately, there are signs of adulthood in Washington’s sandbox, and it remains possible that a deal could be reached to prevent the loss of America’s credit standing...We have many questions and deep reservations about the spending cuts in the plan, which could impose hardships on some of the most vulnerable groups. It is, however, a serious attempt to grapple with growing levels of debt in the years to come."
"Their effort shows that liberals and conservatives can bridge their differences to make significant headway against the deficit. If only the debt-ceiling talks were imbued with the same spirit of compromise."
“For the rest of the world, a plan announced by the Gang of Six, a bipartisan group of senators who have been working on deficit reduction, is a path out of the policy desert in which Congress finds itself.”
“[T]he proposal that started to emerge Tuesday from the bipartisan Gang of Six senators is the last, best hope for using this painful debate as a way to control spending and reform the tax code.”
"Legislators would do well to start with the ambitious deficit-reduction plan given up for dead weeks ago and improbably revived by the Gang of Six senators Tuesday."
“Over the past few weeks, Washington has seemed dysfunctional. Public disgust has risen to epic levels. Yet through all this, serious people — Barack Obama, John Boehner, the members of the Gang of Six — have soldiered on. They’ve been responsible and brave.”
“I am particularly pleased by the tax reform outline… Reducing the top rate is a huge win.”
“[T]hough there's lots to argue with in this bill … I don't think there's much doubt that it's far better than what Congress is likely to do — or not do — if it fails.”
"The best part of the Gang of Six plan is a reduction in the top personal tax rate from 35 percent to a range of 23 to 29 percent. For businesses, the rate would drop in the same manner. And the corporate tax would be territorial rather than global, thereby avoiding the double tax on foreign earnings of U.S. companies. Finally, the plan would abolish the $1.7 trillion alternative minimum tax. That’s huge. It’s another pro-growth tax reform."
"The Gang of Six has given them an exit ramp from a lemming-like march toward the political and economic cliff. With time growing very short, they should take it, for their own benefit and for the nation's."
"The Gang of Six plan suggests a good starting point. Congress and the president should go from there."
"This plan isn’t perfect. But it’s the best one so far. On Wednesday, even Mr. Obama seemed to take a liking to it — a kiss of death in some quarters. Still, Republicans and Democrats should use it to form the nucleus of a long-term, deficit reduction plan, and get it approved by the Aug. 2 deadline."
The President said on Tuesday that the Gang of Six plan is “an approach in which there is shared sacrifice and everybody is giving up something,” and is “broadly consistent with the approach that I’ve urged: what it says is we’ve got to be serious about reducing discretionary spending, both in domestic spending and defense, we’ve got to be serious about tackling health care spending, and entitlements in a serious way, and we’ve got to have some additional revenue.”
"Anything that is bipartisan and moving discussions forward is a great deal."
"The Gang of Six have a plan! That itself is the good deal for our country - a bipartisan effort."
Outside Experts and Groups
“These ideas—and the positive reception they are getting — present a renewed hope that we may be able to avoid a fiscal crisis.”
“[B]eyond the policy -- good, balanced, bipartisan policy -- today the Gang of Six offers us something more: hope. … Pray for the Gang of Six."
“We admire these Senators for having the courage to propose a serious, bipartisan plan."
The Gang of Six's plan is a “very constructive start” to reducing the deficit and solving the debt-ceiling crisis. “[The plan] is a remarkably constructive effort at bipartisanship, at ambition, at balance in terms of both expenditures and revenues and tax reform -- those are very favorable developments.”
"The debt-reduction plan outlined by the bipartisan “Gang of Six” senators includes several of the principles necessary for tax reform and U.S. competitiveness, both of which are essential to improving the nation’s economy."
"The proposal by the Gang of Six makes many important contributions to the ongoing discussions about how to fix the budget situation, starting with the fact that they have demonstrated that there is broad, bipartisan support for a serious, comprehensive plan to deal with our nation’s debt. But perhaps the most significant contribution is their tax reform plan, which is breathtaking in its boldness and has the potential to unleash significant economic growth."
"Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS) urges [Congress] to support the recent “Gang of Six” budgetary proposal as a good first salvo in the fight to rein in our yawning budget deficit and move the country back from the fiscal cliff."
"I think we're making positive steps that are getting closer to a longer-term big deal. And that is very positive news."
"The bipartisan Senate budget plan, announced July 19 as a solution to the debt-ceiling stand-off and promptly embraced by President Barack Obama proves that two important cogs in the Washington machinery want to do the right thing for U.S. public finances."
"We call on business and association leaders representing companies of all sizes to join with other Americans in aggressively advocating intelligent change of the sort the six Senators have proposed."
"The bipartisan group of senators has demonstrated remarkable leadership, courage and determination in developing a comprehensive package which includes spending cuts and revenue reforms to address our structural deficits. These six senators have done what we need all of our elected leaders to do: come together on a comprehensive bipartisan plan that addresses America’s long-term deficits in a big way."
"There is one metric, and it's not whether the deal preserves existing funding for Medicare or whether it raises taxes. It's whether the deal can pass, and this is our best hope."
"The bipartisan Gang of Six proposal is giving leaders on the right and left a moment to pause and take a breath as we move at breakneck speed toward the Aug. 2 deadline. We need more details, but it is moving us in the right direction toward an actual compromise.
"We support the framework laid out by the bipartisan fiscal commission and the efforts of the bipartisan group of leaders in the Senate as a realistic basis from which to work."
"Not a moment too soon, the Gang of Six has resurfaced in the U.S. Senate, breathing new life into hopes for a bipartisan "grand bargain" on deficit reduction."
"It's a good start. What I like about the Gang of Six is the closing tax loopholes and reducing marginal tax rates down to the 20s. This is a deal that I think would be very attractive and would help us grow."
"Long live the Gang of Six. Their intervention at such a critical time may save the day even if their proposals are not adopted. They should be encouraged to continue their efforts."
"The Gang of Six... is the most viable, credible, long-term solution on the table right now. And regardless of the substance, it’s politically powerful. And that may be what takes it over the finish line…These six senators have had the political courage to do what either leadership has not. To sit across the table from each other, not for show, but to actually discuss proposals they don’t like for the sake of trying to find a compromise that can pass….It’s not perfect – because perfect by any single faction’s definition can’t pass. Everyone is going to have to accept a little of something they don’t like and don’t want to defend at home. But the Gang of Six is doing exactly what the American people have signaled they expect - for Washington to get real, stop bickering and do the hard work that moves the country forward."
"Heck, at this point, everything is a good deal; and nothing is a good deal! … I applaud and thank Simpson-Bowles, the Gang of Six, Vice President Biden, Paul Ryan, Sen. Tom Coburn and Sen. Mitch McConnell, all of whose plans the president has either been non-committal or outright hostile about… But it isn’t. So, is the Gang of Six plan a good idea? Absolutely, because at least they are willing to put their name and fingerprints on something that matters in order to get something done."
"It's a bad deal for Democrats and Republicans alike. It's only a good deal for the American people and indeed the world economy"
"Another market catalyst this week are the “Gang of Six” Senators, led by Democrat Mark Warner and Republican Saxby Chambliss, who have proposed a bi-partisan debt reduction proposal to address the imminent debt ceiling problem. It seems to be getting some traction."
"It’s not only a good deal, it’s the only deal. If we can spend the next 12 days putting aside our self-serving partisan interests and setting aside special interest pledges, Congress can do something truly historic for this nation."
"The Gang of Six proposal serves as a beacon for those who wish to support meaningful bipartisan solutions. It confronts the inevitable trade-offs that must be made and defies those who insist that compromise is a fool’s errand...With this proposal, the Gang of Six has become the Gang of Sense. This is one gang we urge others to join.”
"Any assessment, however, needs to consider the current policy and political context. In that sense, the plan overall represents a significant step forward."
"We admire these Senators for having the courage to propose a serious, bipartisan plan. Their proposal, like the recommendations of our own Task Force at the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Bowles-Simpson Commission, recognizes that all parts of the budget must contribute to any long-term solution, including defense spending, tax expenditures and entitlements."
"Twelve members of Congress will soon take on the crucial job of rearranging our country’s finances. They’ve been instructed to devise a plan that reduces the 10-year deficit by at least $1.5 trillion. It’s vital, however, that they achieve far more than that. Americans are rapidly losing faith in the ability of Congress to deal with our country’s fiscal problems. Only action that is immediate, real and very substantial will prevent that doubt from morphing into hopelessness. That feeling can create its own reality."
Members of Congress
"This is a serious, bipartisan proposal that will help stop Washington from spending money that we don't have, and I support it.”
"As I know of it, I’m happy that the plan exists. I think they’re moving in the right direction. We need to see the finished product. There’s a lot of things in there that are parameters, not specifics, but I do think they’re heading in the right direction."
“I think the vibe in the room was very positive. My first impression is that this is a very credible plan…The senators who have worked on this on a bipartisan basis, they have done a tremendous amount of work in the last six months and that’s why I think we need to give it careful examination. From what I heard, it certainly was a credible plan.”
“I am very impressed. There's a lot of support in there.”
“I urge my colleagues to review this plan and hope we can bring it to the Senate floor for debate and an up or down vote. I would support this plan if it were considered on the Senate floor.”
“I think it’s a really positive first step. ... Not everybody is going to pleased with everything, but I think we can find a pretty big consensus.”
“We’ve begun reviewing the Gang of Six proposal and while there are still portions that are unclear and need more detail, this bipartisan plan does seem to include some constructive ideas to deal with our debt.”
“This is a thoughtful, balanced plan that begins to rein in our massive federal debt and deficit without abandoning those who need help the most, and it merits very serious consideration. It is the culmination of months of painstaking bipartisan negotiations, and I commend my colleagues for their dedication and perseverance in putting together this package of spending reductions and revenue increases. Just as heartening as the plan itself is the fact that almost half of my Senate colleagues, from both sides of the aisle, joined me in participating in the Gang of Six's presentation of their plan. I have long said that one of the best things those of us in government can do to help create jobs and encourage short and long-term economic growth is to pass a serious and effective deficit reduction plan. It appears that this proposal would help us do just that by demonstrating that we can still govern in this country and provide the predictability that both large and small businesses need.”
“This morning demonstrated that there are a number of senators ready and willing to tackle meaningful deficit reduction and tax reform. These are senators who know that when Democrats and Republicans stop fighting each other, they can team up and enact substantive solutions. We look forward to working with these senators and lending our experience writing bipartisan tax reform legislation, so that we can move beyond simply talking about the benefits of tax reform and produce a bill that can pass the House and Senate.”
“This group deserves enormous credit for coming up with a serious deficit-reduction plan with bipartisan support. They have done so much work that a lot of the issues have been thought through. They are in the midst of drafting statutory language, and I believe it should be considered in conjunction with the debt-ceiling plan.”
“The framework presented by the ‘gang of six’ is our best hope for a responsible, truly bipartisan deal on deficit reduction. This package contains very difficult choices whose consequences I am carefully studying now, but I am hopeful that this framework will help the Senate take a strong step forward at this critical time.”
“We applaud this effort and ask that you provide the opportunity to vote on this proposal as part of any request for an increase in the debt ceiling before the August 2nd debt ceiling deadline. ... We believe this approach deserves the full and immediate attention of the House of Representatives. It is time to stop using the deficit and debt as political weapons and come together to support bipartisan solutions. We are willing to do our part to advance this comprehensive, bipartisan debt reduction plan. We respectfully ask you to do the same.”
“I think you’ll see a fair amount of enthusiasm the possibility that this could be integrated and a part of a debt-ceiling fix, with substantial cuts and with a pathway to real reform. I think everybody is going to realize nobody is going to get 100 percent of everything they want.”
“This plan could be the way out of all the angry rhetoric coming from both sides. I’m sure there is not 100 percent agreement on all the decisions, but they realize that something has to be done.”
“I certainly think I could get behind it.”
“I think the plan put forward by a bipartisan group of six United States Senators… is a very positive step forward.”
"Some positive proposals have recently emerged from the bipartisan Senate group, the Gang of Six. They released a six-page deficit reduction plan that has pieces that could contribute to a solution and avoid the disastrous consequences of a default on its $14.3 trillion U.S. debt."
"This is a good foundation for debate. They ought to get it to the point where it’s debatable by every member of the Senate, and not in a corner somewhere.”
“This is a very thoughtful, serious plan. I’ve now seen the presentation on it a half a dozen times, and each time I’ve seen it I’ve become more and more convinced that this is the vehicle that gives us the best opportunity to deal with a whole range of issues.”
“I think it could be a component of whatever the debt deal is, because I think a lot of people would feel comfortable doing the debt if they saw this as part of the package, conceivably. ... I think it’s very hopeful and constructive.”
“I think what happened this morning is that the Gang of Six began to turn into a bipartisan majority of senators. ... I am ready to sign up. ... I appeal to people: Don’t start to pick away at this.”
“In the eight plus months I have been in Congress, I have never seen a more encouraging meeting, one in which members of both parties demonstrated their willingness to put aside partisanship and the next election for the future of our country. This morning, the Gang of Six truly became a Mob of Fifty, and I believe this proposal holds enormous promise as a commonsense solution to our long-term debt and deficit.”
“It’s a bright ray of sunshine coming out of a very dark cloud. We don’t know yet whether it’s going to cloud up again. ... We’ve got a bipartisan group of people interested in doing something substantial, which is incredibly encouraging.”
“[When] you have something that has a holistic presentation to it I think we all have an obligation to be looking seriously at it.”
"It's a step in the right direction. It's the one effort out there where you've got Republicans and Democrats coming together. And I think it could actually mesh well with what I think is the ultimate solution here with regard to the debt limit increase."
“The proposal put forward by a group of seven senators today is a useful addition to the budget debate. ... [T]his effort serves as a sign that we can work together on a bipartisan basis to make a serious down payment now to avert the debt-fueled economic crisis before us.”
"It really does some things that I like, and, to be honest, it does some things that I'm going to have some heartburn over. The bottom line here is, what they've laid out in a bipartisan fashion, is a path forward for this country for financial, constructive solvency. It's a way forward where everybody feels a little pain and not one sector feels all the pain."
“There’s a lot of support for turning the gang into a mob. Count me in...I’ve long held this is what we need to do. The credit agencies are saying it’s not enough to take care of the debt limit. We have to take care of the long-term fiscal scenario.”
“This is a monumental achievement of statesmanship. ... We ought to achieve victory, get ready to vote on it and try to get some sort of supermajority, critical mass and then send it to the House and save the day. It represents a real breakthrough and a real opportunity.”