Bowles: Grand Bargain on Deficit 'on Life Support'

Tuesday, 19 Feb 2013 01:11 PM

By Dan Weil

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Former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, who served under President Bill Clinton, offered a new debt reduction proposal Tuesday, but they aren’t optimistic that Congress will adopt it.

“The idea of a grand bargain is at best on life support,” Bowles told reporters, according to Politico. “It seems like both sides are beginning to retreat to their own talking points. This may be good politics, but it doesn’t put us any closer to having our fiscal house in order.”

Congress and the White House ignored the 2010 budget recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles commission appointed by President Barack Obama to solve the debt problem.

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This time around, Simpson, from Wyoming, and Bowles have offered a plan that represents a compromise between the proposals of Obama and that of Republicans in Congress.

The new Simpson-Bowles recommendation would cut the deficit by $2.4 trillion over the next 10 years, compared to a $4 trillion reduction proposed by House Republicans and the $1.5 trillion shrinkage favored by the White House.

Medicare and Medicaid funding would be reduced by $600 billion in the Simpson-Bowles plan, exceeding the $400 billion that the White House can stomach. The duo also proposes $600 billion in new tax revenue, while the House GOP says no to any new taxes.

Simpson expressed the same pessimism as Bowles. “These guys here aren’t interested in winning. They’re interested in making the other side lose — in fact, rubbing the other side’s nose in it,” he said.

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