For the first time in a week, President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner spoke about the fiscal cliff over the phone, but there’s no word of progress made or future talks planned with only twenty-six days to go before the fiscal cliff.
Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH), who is a member of the Appropriations Committee, believes that there’s a growing sense in the Republican party that “the President has won this round relative to the rates” but they still need to sit down and work out the spending part of the deal, which he feels can be reached if the President moves forward with entitlement reform.
LaTourette comments that the Republicans’ walk out yesterday, heading home because there are no votes between now and the weekend, is not as significant as it appears. “We’re not doing anything to get this done because there’s nothing we can do,” he says. “This is going to be a negotiation between the President of the United States and House Speaker John Boehner.”
The U.S. is just 27 days away from falling over the fiscal cliff, but there is still no deal in sight. Texas Republican Congressman Jeb Hensarling offers his take on the stalemate this morning on “Starting Point”. Hensarling is the newly-named Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and he Co-Chaired the Super Committee on Deficit Reduction.
Hensarling refuses to budge on raising revenue, though he thinks the president will achieve it regardless. “There’s nothing we can do to stop that,” he says, “but the bottom line is you can’t solve this problem through revenue.”
Hensarling refuses to raise tax rates because he says “the fiscal cliff, relative to our nation’s spending driven debt crisis, is a pothole...What’s changed is on the spending side, and yet all this discussion is on the tax revenues.”
With 27 days left before the fiscal cliff, talks of a deal in Washington are still at an impasse. President Obama told Republicans that he will not accept a proposal on the fiscal cliff if it does not include raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, rejecting House Speaker Boehner's deficit reduction plan on that basis.
This morning on "Starting Point", Stephanie Cutter, former Deputy Campaign Manager for the Obama 2012 campaign, stresses it is clear that compromise is possible, but Republicans need to come together. Cutter says, "We still have time to put a deal together. The President has a detailed proposal on the table. Republicans need to decide where they want to move. John Boehner needs to decide how he's going to get his own caucus together. They're becoming increasing isolated in their position."
Cutter adds that "there's...plenty of time for compromise. The President's position is clear. We're not going to do anything that hurts the middle class."
According to a new CNN/ORC poll, 45% of respondents will blame Republicans if fiscal cliff talks fail, compared to 34% who will blame President Obama.
The poll also revealed that 70% of people think Republicans in Congress aren't doing enough to cooperate with the president.
Tea Party Caucus co-founder Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) believes that lawmakers aren't doing enough to reduce the national deficit, which he calls the "fiscal avalanche."
Sen. Lee discusses his concern about the national debt and weighs in on the possibility of a fiscal cliff compromise live from the Russell Rotunda on Starting Point today.
The economy was a crucial issue in the vice presidential debate late Thursday with Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan defending their positions on taxes, the deficit and economic policy. Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics and author of “Paying the Price: Ending the Great Recession and Beginning a New American Century,” joins “Starting Point” to discuss the current U.S. economy and what the future might look like after the election.
The U.S. is “making progress," Zandi says. “Obviously we're not going anywhere fast. The economy is not improving fast enough to bring down that unemployment rate. But we are improving, and the best news, most recently is the housing market. The housing market has turned the corner and of course housing was ground zero for our problems. The fact that it's turning up is very positive news,” he says.
The chief economist also argues that “regardless of who wins the election” the economic recovery will continue to progress. “The unemployment rate peaked at 10% just about three years ago. We're now at 7.8%. I think it's very doable to get to 6% by the end of next president's term,” he adds.
Despite positive news for the economy, Zandi warns that the next president will need to address the fiscal cliff early in his term. “Either president has to lay out a credible path to deficit reduction to stabilize their debt load. If they can do that, and I think either president can, then our economy is going to, I think, get its groove back,” he says.
Democratic Senator Dick Durbin from Illinois calls for bipartisan support for spending cuts and tax reforms in Congress to avoid the impending fiscal cliff.
“It would be a disaster,” Durbin says. “If you take a look at everything that’s going to happen at the end of the year, it’s going to affect everyone, not just the wealthiest. It will affect every family. The reason we set up this cliff or steep slope is to force Congress to act [and] to come together on a bipartisan basis."
Less than a year after the bitter deficit showdown that led America to the brink of government shutdown, Congress appears to already be in a partisan gridlock over how to address the same issue.
Yesterday, Speaker Boehner rejected the idea that he would consider raising the debt ceiling without "doing something serious about the debt," an idea that is supported by the Speaker's colleague Rep. Jeb Hensarling.
Rep. Hensarling explains his support for Boehner on Starting Point this morning, saying “The Speaker says we’re not going to do business as usual in Washington and we applauded his leadership for the first time when he said that the debt ceiling is not something to be ignored. This is an opportunity to put reforms in place.”
Hensarling rejects Will Cain's suggestion that last year's debate caused jitters in the debt market, calling the notion a "red herring" and saying that "the threat to our credit rating doesn't come from the debate over a debt ceiling vote, it comes from the fact that we are spending money we don't have."
The partisan battle over the debt ceiling has reared it's head in Congress again this week, and lawmakers remain divided over how best to address America's deficit.
Yesterday, Speaker Boehner's office told President Obama that he would "not allow a debt ceiling increase without doing something serious about the debt."
Rep. Chris Van Hollen joins Starting Point this morning to respond to Speaker Boehner's comments and the continued gridlock over deficit reduction, saying “I don’t know why the Speaker of the House wants to replay this movie."
"It didn’t have a good ending last time around and it probably won’t have a good ending this time around if [Boehner] insists on drawing lines in the sand,” Van Hollen says.
Rep. Van Hollen also comments on the House Republican budget, saying that the plan "would require that we increase the debt ceiling by $5.2 trillion over the next ten years, so [Boehner's] own budget violates the very rule he's laid out."
Christine Romans and Ali Velshi explain how the elections in Greece and France reflect voter frustration with austerity measures and weigh in on various economists' ideas about how to address the European debt crisis.
Simon Johnson, author of "White House Burning," explains his take on solutions for reducing debt and fixing budget issues in the U.S.