Fiscal Cliff negotiations between President Obama and House Speaker Boehner have progressed over the last few days, to the point that National Journal says they are not very far apart on numbers for a deal. You can compare the offers and counteroffers here.
The focus of the current talks reportedly are centered on revenue increases and cuts to entitlement spending. This week the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) provided revenue and health care options that offer policymakers plenty of ideas for finding savings in these two areas. In addition, Fix the Debt convened a conference earlier this month where experts from different ideological backgrounds offered thoughts on revenue and health care spending reform. Watch the video of the health care and tax reform panels.
While the progress in the talks is encouraging, Fix the Debt expressed concern in a statement that a deal may not be reached or that it may not be large enough to put the debt on a long-term downward trajectory. With time running short, it is likely that any deal reached before the end of the year will involve some sort of “downpayment” of savings now with details on larger deficit reduction left for next year. CRFB provided guidelines for how such a two-step process could be successfully accomplished as opposed to simply kicking the can down the road again indefinitely.
There are plenty of pathways to an agreement, as the table below shows. It is really a matter of political will for policymakers to make the hard decisions to get a deal done.
Need to know more about the fiscal cliff, check out the handy Fiscal Cliff Resource Page.