President Barack Obama and Republican leaders have agreed to exchange proposals for future deficit reduction, reportedly reaching the informal arrangement at a White House dinner Wednesday hosted by the president.
Obama and a dozen GOP senators in attendance agreed to exchange papers outlining how far they are willing to go to raise new revenues and reform entitlement programs, The Hill
The dinner followed the unveiling earlier this week of Obama's 2014 budget request that would reduce the rate of growth in entitlements Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and agreement to exchange ideas and proposals comes at a crucial time.
The nation will again bump up against the debt ceiling sometime in mid-May. House Republicans are currently coalescing around a plan offered by Tom McClintock of California that would prohibit debt payments from being made with new tax revenues. The plan reaffirms that House Republicans are still against any new tax increases to help the nation meet its borrowing obligations.
“Most people would agree that the ‘full faith and credit’ of the United States should not hang in the balance every time there’s a fiscal debate in Washington,” McClintock said at a recent Ways and Means Committee hearing. “Even with record deficits, our revenues are roughly ten times greater than our public debt service, so there is no excuse for a debt default.”
Despite the GOP stand against tax increases, the dinner agreement to exchange ideas gave some hope that there might still be room for a "grand bargain" on long-term deficit reduction. But the Hill reported that one lawmaker who attended the meeting cautioned that the prospect of that was "less than 50-50."
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