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Budget Deal or No Deal

November 30, 2012—Rhetoric continued to outpace negotiations as Congress returned to Washington this week as both Democrats and Republicans called on the other side to put forth specific plans for averting the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

Following a Nov. 29 meeting at the Capitol with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who is leading the White House negotiations, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters, “I was hopeful we’d see a specific plan for cutting spending. We’d sought to find out today what the president is really willing to do.’ He added, “I'm disappointed where we are―disappointed what's happened over the last two weeks."

According to various media sources, Republicans roundly rejected the plan Geithner offered to Boehner, which reportedly includes $1.6 trillion in tax increases over 10 years and a pledge of identifying $400 billion in savings from unspecified Medicare and other social programs.  The plan also would postpone for a year the automatic sequester of discretionary spending scheduled to begin Jan. 3, 2013, extend a “patch” for the alternative minimum tax, renew extended unemployment compensation, and include a new multi-year economic stimulus plan including at least $50 billion in infrastructure spending in FY 2013.

Democrat Senator Charles Schumer (N.Y.) charged Republicans to come up with a plan, saying in a written statement, “The ball is now in their court to state what they would do on entitlements and taxes. They have given no specifics so far.”

Republicans reportedly also objected to a White House proposal to increase the statutory limit on federal borrowing without congressional approval.  The president has said he wants to raise the debt limit by the end of December.

Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Nov. 29 released a primer on the statutory debt limit, including a description of alternative strategies the Treasury can use for managing its cash and borrowing to continue funding government activities.


Dave Moore
Senior Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-828-0559


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