Biden's Bipartisan Debt Team Picks Up the Pace

Friday, 10 Jun 2011 01:04 PM

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Vice President Joe Biden’s bipartisan debt reduction talks are picking up steam amidst fears that a lack of progress could hurt the shaky economy. The group of congressional negotiators met for the first time in two weeks and agreed to pick up the pace, scheduling three meetings for next week, The Washington Post reported.

The negotiators hope to present a draft of an agreement to President Barack Obama and congressional leaders by the end of June.

Eric Cantor, debt, deficit, biden
Rep. Eric Cantor: "There isn't a credible plan to manage down the debt and deficit." (Getty Images Photo)
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said, “The news on the economy and on the jobs front of the last several days, I think, underscores the importance of this meeting we just came out of.

“We believe that much of the problem surrounding the lack of job creation and growth for this country has to do with the fact that there isn’t a credible plan to manage down the debt and deficit,” the Post quotes Cantor as saying.

When the negotiators met Thursday, they focused on revenue with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s arguing for tax hikes and putting limits on itemized deductions for the wealthiest.

The next set of talks will home in on agency spending and an enforcement mechanism to lock in any budget deal. Republicans are advocating spending caps with automatic cuts if they’re breached, and Democrats want caps on annual deficits that could trigger tax increases, the Post reported.

The group has yet to decide on how much to raise the debt limit or how much spending will be cut, with Republicans arguing for cuts equal to any increase in debt. The Treasury needs an additional $2 trillion this year, the Post reported.

On another debt reduction front, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and the four remaining members of the Gang of Six, briefed a dozen colleagues on their plan to cut $4.7 trillion from projected deficits over the next decade. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., dropped out of the group last month.

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