With precisely 13 working sessions left for Congress in 2012, it is time to ratchet up the can kicking rhetoric a bit. Sure enough, here comes the White House, via the Wall Street Journal, doing just that.
- WHITE HOUSE IN ADVANCED INTERNAL DISCUSSIONS ON PLAN TO REPLACE SEQUESTER - SOURCES - DJ
- CONCEPT WOULD KICK MAJOR DEFICIT-REDUCTION TALKS INTO 2013 - DJ
- CONCEPT WOULD BE PART OF BROADER NEGOTIATIONS ON TACKLING 'FISCAL CLIFF' - DJ
Because when unable to reach a compromise over anything, what is the best option? Just stick head in sand, and demand that the Mr. Chairman gets to work. As for the news above, this is largely irrelevant for the actual fiscal cliff negotiations as the news means there will be no actual consensus and the futures buying algos are once again in for a rude awakening.
From the WSJ:
White House officials are in advanced internal discussions about a plan to replace the sweeping spending cuts set to begin in January with a smaller, separate package of targeted spending cuts and tax increases, people familiar with the planning said. The spending cuts, known as the "sequester," will begin in January unless the White House and Congress intervene. They would cut spending by roughly $100 billion next year, and then for eight additional years, hitting a number of federal programs, including military programs, embassy security and state aid.
The discussions are just one part of a complicated set of possibilities as Washington deals not only with the looming spending cuts but also the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and other traditional year-end priorities, such as finding a way to halt the scope of the Alternative Minimum Tax. While moving along separate tracks, it is also possible these three policy issues could be wrapped up into one universal deal.
The White House is set to start negotiations with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders Friday.
By postponing the sequester cuts, Washington would essentially push off a number of large deficit-reduction decisions into mid-2013. This would include a long-term plan to replace the remaining sequester cuts, a plan to overhaul the tax code, and separate decisions about how to restructure Medicare and Medicaid.
The plan that has been discussed by White House officials is similar in many ways to what lawmakers have discussed. It would terminate the spending cuts for a period of six to 12 months, and replace the cuts with more targeted reductions and revenue increases. House Republicans have proposed a similar model, though they have called for terminating the cuts to defense programs only and haven't accepted a deal to include tax increases as part of any package.
A White House spokeswoman declined to comment.