Budget Talks Aim High

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Vice President Joe Biden says the budget talks he chairs are “getting down to the hard stuff” and aiming to curb deficits by $4 trillion over the next decade or so. That’s ambitious goal which would be hard to achieve with the limited options that the group reportedly has been discussing so far.

Picking up the pace of its work, the group of key lawmakers and top administration officials met three times last week and plans at least three more meetings this week, starting today. The talks are aimed at producing an agreement to raise the federal debt limit, which the Treasury says must be done by Aug. 2 to avoid default.

A small bipartisan “gang” of senators has also continued to meet to discuss a broad, long-term fiscal reform plan based largely on recommendations the President’s bipartisan fiscal commission issued half a year ago.

Late last week the International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for U.S. economic growth and expressed concern that American political consensus “remains missing” on “a comprehensive and balanced set of specific measures” to underpin a credible “medium-term (fiscal) adjustment plan.”

The Congressional Budget Office plans to release its 2011 Long-Term Budget Outlook at 10 a.m. Wednesday on its website, CBO.gov.

External links:
President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
IMF Survey on Global Growth

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