White House-Congress Talks on Deficit Stalled

Wednesday, 11 May 2011 11:43 AM

By Dan Weil

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Negotiations over cutting the budget deficit between about a dozen White House officials and aides to Republican and Democratic congressmen aren’t getting very far. The group doesn’t appear to have made much progress since it began meeting last week, The Hill reports.

The achievement so far has been moving from opening statements to talking about specific categories of spending to cut.

“I suppose you could say that, in some cases, there were actual programs and categories of programs,” said Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.

But optimism isn’t high. “Whether we can get to the finish line with this group is another question,” Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday. “Everybody is being straight, cordial. All the facts are being laid on the table. We were going through what we agree on, what we disagree on.”

Meanwhile, Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, says Republicans must work harder to convince Americans to support their 2012 budget proposal, The Hill reports.
 
He acknowledges that Democrats have made political hay by attacking the plan for actually addressing the issue of Medicare reform. Entitlement spending — Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security — represents the biggest contributors to our exploding debt burden.

"I wouldn't say we're losing the communications battle, but we have a great communications challenge," he told Fox News. "Anything this big takes a while to sink in for people to understand. As soon as people realize just how dire our fiscal situation is, and what our drivers are — namely, our entitlement programs — the more they're supportive of this."


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