Taking a long walk off a short pier ... er, cliff
House Republican leaders endorsed a far-reaching plan Monday to rein in the national debt that would raise $800 billion in new tax revenue, slice $600 billion from federal health programs and apply a stingier measure of inflation to Social Security benefits.
In a letter to President Obama, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and other senior Republicans suggested that the framework, first laid out by Democrat Erskine Bowles during last year’s budget battles, should serve as a starting point for budget talks aimed at averting the year-end “fiscal cliff.”
“With the fiscal cliff nearing, our priority remains finding a reasonable solution that can pass both the House and the Senate, and be signed into law in the next couple of weeks,” the letter says. “The best way to do this is by learning from and building on the bipartisan discussion that have occurred [earlier in] this Congress.”
The framework serves as a counteroffer to the plan Obama put on the table last week, which was essentially a reprise of his most recent budget request. While both frameworks would reduce borrowing by more than $4 trillion over the next decade, Obama’s proposal would raise $1.6 trillion in fresh revenue — double the amount in the GOP plan — and produce only about $350 billion in savings from Medicaid and Medicare, the biggest drivers of future borrowing.