With the “fiscal cliff” closely looming on the horizon, the post-election honeymoon is over for President Barack Obama. Both parties must work to avert the pending spending cuts and tax hikes that will take place should a compromise not be reached by December 31.
Reuters recently reported that a compromise is being negotiated between the Obama administration and congressional leaders that would key in on a deficit reduction package in Congress’ January session. This comes after President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) discussed the matter last Friday, stating they are ready to work together on an agreement, including the possibility of listening to new ideas to get a deal done.
While this rhetoric seems to point to a compromise, both sides have also made statements to the contrary. President Obama has called for House Republicans to immediately pass a bill that was approved by the Senate calling for middle-class Americans taxes to remain the same, while increasing the tax rate for upper class citizens.
On the other hand, Boehner stated that raising taxes on the wealthy is not an option but suggested a short-term “bridge” bill that would provide time for a bigger deal in 2013. He also favors “entitlement reform,” or the potential restructuring of Medicare and Medicaid, something that Democrats have balked at throughout.
In a Newsday article by Tom Brune, Peter King (R-Seaford), when pressed on the post-election reality of the GOP, stated, “I think John [Boehner] has more flexibility now. Now that the election is over, and now that some of the Republican members have seen the reality of the campaign, they’ll be more willing to compromise.” The post-election GOP seems to understand that compromise must be made to avert crisis.
This all comes on the wake of a Congressional Budget Office report regarding the “fiscal cliff” that would push the nation back into recession and drive up the jobless rate.
Fox News reported last Friday, “This is an opportunity for the president to lead,” Boehner said. “This is his moment to engage the Congress and work towards a solution that can pass both chambers.” Fox also confirmed that the president and congressional leaders are expected to meet at the White House next week for discussion on the matter.
Top Obama aid David Axelrod chimed in on the ability to compromise, “Obviously, there is money to be gained by closing some of these loopholes and applying them to deficit reduction,” as he told CBS’s ‘Face the Nation.’ “So I think there are a lot of ways to skin this cat, so long as everybody comes with a positive, constructive attitude toward the task.”
While it appears that there has been progress from the pre-election rhetoric by both parties, it remains to be seen whether a true agreement will be reached ahead of the “fiscal cliff” deadline. In the meantime, we are keeping a close eye on the discussion as it unfolds.
Monica Mayk Parham is director of marketing at Market Connections Inc., a leading government market research firm and authority on preferences, perceptions and trends among government executives and the contractors who serve them.This article originally appeared on the company’s FedConnects.com site and is reprinted with permission.