Washington (CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that he and congressional negotiators have done a “first serious scrub” of the entire federal budget but differences remain over big-ticket items that philosophically divide the two parties in their quest for an agreement that would raise the nation’s debt ceiling while putting in place long-term reductions to the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt.
Those big-ticket items include whether to increase tax revenues – which many Democrats want – and making changes to expensive entitlements like Medicare – which many Republicans support.
“Everybody wants an agreement,” Biden told reporters after a meeting in the Capitol with the bipartisan group of lawmakers and other top Obama administration officials. “That is sufficiently realistic to get to $4 trillion over a decade or so – in terms of reductions.”
He said the group would meet four days next week, as opposed to three days this week, and that each meeting would be longer than the two hours or so each meeting has been to date. He also said their staffs would work “around the clock” to support the talks.
“Now we’re down to the really hard stuff. I’ll trade you my bicycle for your golf clubs,” he said as a hypothetical example.
Biden said the negotiators would not “cut a deal that can’t be sold” to rank-and-file lawmakers in both parties.
“Whatever gets sold and the Congress affirmatively votes on,” he predicted, will “have to have a lot of Democratic and Republican votes.”
Biden went out of his way to praise the lawmakers with whom he’s working. He singled out House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, who he described as “smart has hell” and “totally and completely straightforward and sincere.”
At some point, both sides have to play. They can't both come to the playground with a ball and, when they don't like something, leave and take their ball with them. They are both going to have to swallow hard on some things but if they get a $4+ trillion dollar deficit reduction strategy started, I'd say it was a good start.
It is a false choice between doing something about entitlements or raising revenue. Both should be done. Republicans like to talk about how you can't increase taxes enough to cover the debt, but they don't acknowledge that they can't cut enough from the budget to cover the debt either. Revenue has to be raised, and all ways that we can should be used. When we don't owe $14.3 trillion, then we can talk about whether we continue our fiscal rectitude with increased revenue or spending cuts. But it's a moot debate until we get to that point.
I hope the dems realized by now that every thing the repugs do turned out to be a disaster for the past 3 years. We need to cut spending but not to take away the engine of our demand.
Get it done Joe. Make sure the deadbeat Senate does something for a change.
Cut the oil subsidies, cut the ethanol tax, clean up the farm subsidies and put the tax rate back to what it was under Eisenhower and delete a lot of the tax breaks for corporations. Right now 70% of the farm subsidies go to the top 10%. Sorry, that's corporate welfare at the farm level. And get some regulations on the banks and Wall Street, they are sitting on trillions while Main Street can't get a loan. And get rid of a lot of the incentives to ship jobs to China and that includes the R&D.
I don't think that we will get much because of the GOP not willing to understand and act on the need to raise taxes. That has to be done. Close the loopholes and raise the rates on the rich will need to be part of the solutions.
Why are the Republicans dithering on getting anything accomplished for America?
Raise the cost of Medicare payments a bit, add "opt out" to the health care, end the wars and stop sending money to Pakistan. Also cut excess spending in Medicare and perscription drugs. Most people would rather spend a bit more for Medicare than see it gone completely. And "opt out" of the health care should have been there in the first place. Those that don't want it don't need to bother with it. And stop the Bush Tax Cuts and huge subsidies for the oil companies.
Frank from Indiana is so right on topic....people need to wake up to lies from the gop. Farm subsidies going to millionaires? Are you kidding me? Ask the elected ones from Tennessee! My husband's business has closed down and now has been unemployed for 2 years. For 2 years prior to that it was not good – had to decide to quit going further in to debt to save the business hoping construction jobs would pick up. Never in my life time would I have imagined how bad things could get. The last time we were affected was after the savings and loan scandals in the late 80s. He was truly "small" business" unlike what the gop touts as small business – the S corporations like Budweiser, etc. PLEASE AMERICA WAKE UP AND SPEAK OUT!