Entries in Federal Deficit (74)


Democrats Present Their Budget Plan Wednesday

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The proposal being unveiled by Senate Democrats on Wednesday to balance the nation's books will be markedly different from what Republican Congressman Paul Ryan presented on Tuesday in that it offers both significant spending cuts and tax revenue increases.

Specifically, Washington Democrat Patty Murray, chair of the Senate Budget Committee, will propose $1 trillion in tax hikes through 2013 that would largely be paid for by closing tax breaks and loopholes enjoyed by wealthy Americans and corporations.

Murray says there will be an equal amount in spending reductions affecting a wide swath of programs, including entitlements, although the annual deficit of over $1 trillion would be shrunk rather than completely eradicated.

The measure gets its first vote in the committee on Thursday, with all 10 Democrats expected to approve the bill and all eight Republicans certain to vote against it.  It also marks the first budget offered by Senate Democrats since 2009.

Ryan's latest budget would cut $4.6 trillion in spending by 2023 and decrease net spending from $46 trillion to only $41 trillion over the next decade.  There would be no new taxes.

As promised, Ryan also wants to repeal the president’s healthcare law, simplify the tax code into two brackets and cut federal pensions.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Report: Senators Devising Plan to Avoid 'Fiscal Cliff'

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Plans are underway in the U.S. Senate to deal with the political hot potato known as the “fiscal cliff,” a confluence of tax hikes, deep spending cuts and a growing federal deficit that could send the economy into another recession by early 2013.

According to a story in Tuesday's New York Times, a bipartisan group of senators is formulating a three-step process that would avert the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts and automatic spending reductions known as sequestration that would hit the Pentagon particularly hard.  The process would include reducing the deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade by changing the tax code, reforming various entitlements and trimming federal programs.

If that idea flops, the senators have Plan Two, which involves changes to Social Security, more extensive spending cuts and the addition of $2 trillion of revenue through lower tax rates that eliminate or trim deductions and credits.

The final alternative, which is the least desirable, is simply delaying the expiring tax cuts and upcoming spending reductions to give lawmakers more time to arrive at a plan that has wide partisan support.

Much depends on the outcome of the election.  The Republican-controlled House is opposed to ending tax cuts for the nation’s 2 percent of wage earners while Democrats are insistent that no deal is possible unless the wealthy return to the tax rates of the Clinton administration.

Despite their differences, no one wants nearly 90 percent of working Americans to pay more taxes amid draconian spending reductions that would certainly result in the second recession of the past five years.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Camp, RNC to Focus on Obama's Broken Promises

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee plan to jointly push a message this week that focuses on President Obama’s promises on cutting the national deficit and reducing the debt.

“President Obama has broken his promise over and over when it comes to reining in Washington’s out of control spending,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.  “During the campaign, he lambasted the growing debt and, once elected, he pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term.  Yet, President Obama’s record has been to double-down on Washington’s out of control spending by running trillion dollar deficits every year he’s been in office."

The RNC is honing in on three key arguments:

-- “Obama saw danger in adding to the debt saying it would lead to a double dip recession, but has since become the ‘undisputed debt king of the past five presidents.’”

-- “Obama promised to cut the deficit in half, but racked up the three highest deficits in history.”

-- “Obama refused to address entitlement reform for political reasons and chose to kick the can down the road instead.”

They are releasing a new web video Monday morning titled Empty Promises: Debt and Deficits,” as well as a lengthy research piece entitled Not On His Watch: Obama Has Avoided Making ‘The Hard Decisions’ On The Debt, Leaving The Situation Worse After Almost Four Years Under His Watch.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Boehner Sees ‘Hell of a Lot Worse’ Economy Without Deficit Deal

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday warned that the U.S. economy will get “a hell of a lot worse” if Congress fails to address the country’s long-term debt woes, but he acknowledged that Republicans and Democrats must “find more common ground if we’re going to be successful.”

“I’m never going to give up on making the changes necessary to get our deficit and our debt under control because if we don’t the future for our kids and grandkids is going to be pretty bleak,” Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters in Washington.  “If you look at what happened with the supercommittee, it’s not a whole lot different than what happened in the conversations between President Obama and myself and Sen. Reid and Sen. McConnell and myself later in the summer.  There’s got to be a balance to this if it’s going to happen, [but] both of our views of what is balanced still have room between us.”

Although the supercommittee failed to come up a deal to cut $1.5 trillion from the deficit over the next decade, he praised the bipartisan panel for a “great job” and pointed out that the sequestration mechanism will still compel Congress to cut $1.2 trillion from the deficit by 2013.  While the president has threatened to veto any legislation that attempts to tinker with the automatic cuts, Boehner seemed open to changes.

“It’s unfortunate they weren’t able to come to an agreement, but understand this: there is going to be $1.2 trillion of further cuts to meet our commitment and I think having the sequester in place to ensure that we’re going to get our spending problem under control is a good thing,” he said.  “I would prefer, and I think all of our members would prefer, that we do this in a more responsible way.” Those cuts include slashing the defense budget, which Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said will be "devastating" to the U.S. military.

Boehner once again called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to move a host of House-passed measures which the speaker said “would help create a better environment for job creation.”

“American families and small businesses continue to struggle in this difficult economy,” he said.  “They’re good solid pieces of legislation all passed with bipartisan support and they deserve the consideration of the United States Senate.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Michael Bloomberg Slams Obama for Failed Supercommittee

The City of New York(NEW YORK) -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Monday that the failure of the supercommittee is a “damning indictment of Washington’s inability to govern” and blamed President Obama in part for the breakdown of the debt talks.

“It’s the chief executive’s job to bring people together and to provide leadership in difficult situations.  I don’t see that happening,” Bloomberg said at a news conference.  “The failure of the committee will mean that thousands of jobs that would have been created will just go without being created.  And thousands of men and women who would have gotten back to work will remain unemployed.”

Bloomberg, who has been rumored as a potential third-party candidate in the upcoming presidential elections, criticized both parties for their lack of action.

“I think it’s a failure, you know people say, who do you blame?  The blame is both sides of the aisle and both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue,” he said.

The White House has defended the president’s engagement with the supercommittee.

“This committee was established by an act of Congress . It was comprised of members of Congress.  Instead of pointing fingers and playing the blame game, Congress should act, fulfill its responsibility,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Monday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Vows to Veto Attempts to Undo Automatic Spending Cuts

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After the Congressional supercommittee failed to reach a deal to cut the budget, President Obama vowed Monday night to veto any attempts to undo $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts that would take effect in 2013.

“Already some in Congress are trying to undo these automatic spending cuts.  My message to them is simple: No.  I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense spending,” he said in the White House briefing room.  “There will be no easy off-ramps on this one.  We need to keep the pressure up to compromise, not turn off the pressure.”

The president’s threat came just one hour after the leaders of the supercommittee announced they had failed to reach a deal to reduce the deficit, forcing the government to face the automatic cuts.

“The only way these spending cuts will not take place is if Congress gets back to work and agrees on a balanced plan to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion,” Obama said.

The president placed blame for the failure of the supercommittee squarely on Republicans.

“There are still too many Republicans in Congress who have refused to listen to the voices of reason and compromise that are coming from outside of Washington,” he said.

“They continue to insist on protecting a hundred billion dollars worth of tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans at any cost, even if it means reducing the deficit with deep cuts to things like education and medical research, even if it means deep cuts in Medicare… They simply will not budge from that negotiating position.  And so far, that refusal continues to be the main stumbling block that has prevented Congress from reaching an agreement to further reduce our deficit,” Obama said.

The president praised Democrats, however, for being willing to “put politics aside” and make reasonable adjustments to achieve a balanced approached to reducing the deficit.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Super Committee State of Play: Five Days Left

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Both Democratic and Republican members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction huddled privately on Thursday, but the whole 12-member Super Committee has not sat down together in weeks and the group, with each passing moment, appears to be hurtling toward a potential failure.

Both sides claim they have gone as far as possible and called on each other to make further concessions.

Democratic co-chair Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., insisted on Thursday that all Democratic members on the committee are in line with each other and that they would accept the Republicans’ offer, as authored by Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., with a few tweaks.

“We have met their offer on revenue,” Murray said after leaving a meeting with her Democratic committee colleagues.  “But we have said it has to be fair to the American people and done in a way that doesn’t put the burden on working families and addresses the issues of getting people back to work.  We are waiting for them to accept that.”

The Toomey plan would raise federal tax revenue by about $250 billion over the next decade by limiting tax breaks like mortgage interest deductions for Americans in return for lower income tax rates.  The plan extends the Bush-era tax rates, which were extended by President Obama last year but are once again set to expire at the end of next year.  The plan proposes $876 billion in total spending reductions, including $275 billion in health entitlement savings.

Democrats say they are willing to accept those revenue numbers but they insist on a few changes, namely that the plan must allow the Bush tax cuts to expire at the end of 2012.  The Democrats also say there can be no increase in the Medicare retirement age and that the agreement could not include a chained Consumer Price Index -- which could cut hundreds of thousands from Social Security benefits.  Finally, Democrats say the deal must make a “real investment” into job creation.

Republicans on the committee have resisted the purportedly tweaked Democratic counter proposal, denying a new Democratic offer even exists at all.  Instead, the GOP members say they are waiting on the Democrats to come up with a genuine counter-offer.

“There was a piece of paper exchanged between a couple of the people, but it is not a new offer in the sense of meeting our ‘tax number,’” said Sen. Jon Kyl, the number two Republican in the Senate.  “The piece of paper you’re talking about presumed that the current policy, which is that the ’01/’03 tax rates that have been in existence for a decade will continue to be in existence.  [Democrats] assume that not to be the case.  So it is not $400 trillion, but rather $400 [trillion-plus] whatever will happen in January of 2013.”

Murray said that Democrats believe they have “opened a door to negotiations in these last final hours,” by agreeing to the Toomey plan.  She said it is up to Republicans to “come to an agreement on their side on revenue” to be able to move forward.

With five days left until the committee’s Nov. 23 deadline and no deal in sight, about the only thing members of the Super Committee seem to agree on around the Capitol is that time is running short.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Super Committee Dems: Co-Chair Hensarling’s Comments Unhelpful

Hensarling [dot] House [dot] gov(WASHINGTON) -- During an appearance on CNBC Tuesday night, the Republican co-chair of the Super Committee, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, drew a line in the proverbial Super Committee sand, saying Republicans have “gone as far as we feel we can go” in agreeing to new tax revenues.

“Any penny of increased static revenue is a step in the wrong direction,” Hensarling, R-TX., said.  “We can only balance that with pro-growth reforms, and, frankly, the Democrats have never agreed [to] that, so I don’t know how many times I can tell you that that agreement is not going to happen.”

Hensarling said that Republicans have agreed to $250 billion in tax increases over the next decade, but that’s about as far as Republicans will go even with Democratic insistence to go further.

Democratic members of the Super Committee huddled on Wednesday for more than two hours, and after emerging from the closed-door meeting said drawing lines in the sand as Hensarling did last night -- at least in public -- is not helpful, especially now when they are within the one-week deadline to reach an agreement.

“I think when people go public and say what they’re willing or not willing to do, it isn’t as helpful as sitting at a table and trying to work through these things,” Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said.  “I’m not going to negotiate in public; I am not going to get into the back and forth.  I don’t think it’s helpful.  I think what we need to do is sit down with each other and make choices.”

Co-chair of the committee, Sen. Patty Murray., D-Wash., said that she heard Hensarling’s comments on CNBC as well.

“I hope that they have not walked away,” Murray said of Hensarling’s insistence that Republicans will not go any further.  “We are working very hard to find a place that we can move forward on and we’re going to continue to do that.”

As the Democratic members of the Super Committee met Wednesday, so did the Republican members of the committee on the House side of the Capitol.

Republican members say they are waiting for a new Democratic offer.  Democratic members saying they are waiting for a new Republican offer.

Aides continue to stress that there are small meetings taking place all day, yet no full meeting of the Super Committee has been scheduled, as they all continue to negotiate a deal behind-closed-doors.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ron Paul Blasts the Fed, Says Super Committee Will Be a Failure

Scott Olson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Ron Paul upped his rhetoric against the Federal Reserve on Wednesday, calling it the facilitator of big government and overspending.

Paul traced many of the budget issues plaguing the federal government to the Fed’s determination to pump money into system.  That oversupply of money creates what he calls a growing bureaucracy that is unsustainable, he said, adding that he believes the additional money also dilutes the value of the dollar.

During a speech to the CATO Institute’s Monetary Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., Paul saved special rebuke for the Congressional Super Committee, calling the committee’s $1.2 trillion in mandated cuts “puny.”

He said Congressional Republicans are obsessed with wars and Democrats spend recklessly, and predicted that in the end, the committee will fail to reduce significant spending.

“Politicians are fiddling around the edges as the country burns,” said Paul.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Deficit ‘Headlock’: Reid Rules Out Undoing Automatic Cuts, Even at Expense of Defense

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was pessimistic that the 12-member "Super Committee," which he said is currently in a “headlock,” would be able to broker a bipartisan deficit reduction deal by next Wednesday.  But he rejected calls to bypass painful spending cuts that would result if no deal is reached.

“So far, I’ve not seen indication the Republicans are willing to agree to this balanced approach,” Reid said.  “If the committee fails to act, sequestration is going to go forward.”

Sequestration is the process by which across-the-board cuts in government spending would be enacted starting in the 2013 spending year.  The cuts will automatically kick in if the Super Committee cannot reach a deal to reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion.

In the face of a stalemate of the committee, some members of Congress have suggested that Congress could move to bypass the automatic spending cuts as a way to avoid the devastating blows to defense and non-defense spending that would take place in 2013.

But for the first time on Tuesday, Reid said that he would not vote for anything that attempts to undo the automatic cuts.

“Those who are -- who talk about retracting the sequester are wrong, are not living up to the agreement we reached to cut our nation’s deficit last July,” Reid said.  “I would not vote to undo the sequester.”

While not specifically answering if he would vote for or against undoing the sequester -- if it got to that point -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY., said the committee has got to get a result now.

“My view is that failure is not an option,” said McConnell.  “The American people need an outcome, they expect an outcome, they deserve an outcome.  And I expect to get one.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio