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Senates Hold ‘Secret Talks’ About Fiscal Cliff

From the Politico:

Secret talks under way about ‘fiscal cliff’

By: Manu Raju
June 6, 2012

A growing number of lawmakers are alarmed that Congress’s do-nothing posture ahead of the year-end fiscal cliff could provoke a massive voter backlash and economic catastrophe if they don’t start laying the groundwork right now to cut a deal.

So behind the scenes, there’s a scramble taking shape.

A dozen senators ranging from Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn to Delaware Democrat Chris Coons have begun to organize closed-door briefings with leading economic experts to prod Congress into action. Some lawmakers like Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) are quietly pushing to have a major tax and budget package ready by September so a bill can be introduced immediately after the November elections and passed by Christmas

“There’s a genuine concern that a downturn in Europe or another place will force our hand: It’s far better for us to start working on this earlier rather than later, and there’s a lot of work to be done,” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told POLITICO. “If we can present something immediately after the election that is a good solid starting point, I think it’s going to restore confidence in the business community.”

Above all else, [these Senators] say, these summer talks must be done secretly and never be made public for fear that any new proposals could get swept into the highly toxic partisan atmosphere ahead of a historic presidential election. The secret talks might allow Democrats to entertain deeper cuts to entitlements than they usually would, and Republicans could talk more candidly about increasing tax revenues — without either side getting blasted in the political arena

Skeptics, of course, say they’ve heard this all before. The Senate “gangs,” the supercommittee, the deficit commission itself — all of those failed. Durbin and five other senators have been privately meeting since the beginning of 2011 in the hope that the so-called Gang of Six could produce a $4 trillion proposal — but the group never even introduced a bill…

Which, we guess, makes us "skeptics." We have heard all of this countless times before.

A temporary extension of all the Bush tax cuts, as Bill Clinton initially suggested this week, may be all that Congress can muster in a post-election period.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), a member of the Gang of Six, said in an interview that it “might make some sense” to extend all the taxes in the short term if lawmakers need more time to fundamentally reform the current corporate and individual tax system.

“But on a short-term basis, … I think something like that is going to have to be done,” he said of a temporary tax cut extension.

Obama needs to add Senator Conrad to the Corey Booker woodshed appointment book.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, June 7th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Senates Hold ‘Secret Talks’ About Fiscal Cliff”

  1. Petronius says:

    Whenever we see the nouns “Democrats” and “secrets” used together in the same article our antennae should immediately go up.

    If we then scan the article for the verbs “reveal,” “leak,” “disclose,” or “made public” we will seldom be disappointed.

  2. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Fool me once, shame on you.

    Fool me twice, call me a RINO.

    Fool me three times, call me a deeply entrenched party elitist.

    And on and on it goes.

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