Chained to the Fiscal Cliff?

December 13, 2012

Here we are again, back in that old, familiar Washington place known as Down to the Wire.

With 19 days left until the end of the year, and even less time for cutting a deal on the fiscal cliff, President Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner reportedly are in their second round of the deficit reduction offer-counteroffer game.

The Republican and Democratic proposals aren’t long on specifics but both sides seem to be drawing on ideas they (and others) have floated before. Boehner’s opening parry after the White House released its first “offer,” included reducing federal pay and benefits as a way to help shrink the deficit. His second counteroffer reportedly is similar to the first one. (Second verse, same as the first.) Specifically, Republicans have called for extending the federal pay freeze, decreasing the government workforce by 10 percent through attrition and requiring feds to contribute more to their pensions. The pension proposal also is something Obama supports, although the contribution amounts from feds would be smaller under the administration’s plan.

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