A Fiscal Cliff Deal in the Making?

A Fiscal Cliff Deal in the Making?

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Despite some of the gloomy public pronouncements about the status of the cliff talks, some senior officials who have been part of negotiations say the framework for a deal is starting to take shape, according to Politico’s Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei.

According to the report, officials say an emerging 10-year deal could look something like this: taxes will go up just shy of $1.2 trillion — Entitlement programs, mainly Medicare, will be cut by no less than $400 billion – but possibly more, to get Republicans to go along with the proposed tax hikes. And there will be at least $1.2 trillion in spending cuts and “war savings.”  -  Read more at Politico

GEITHNER AND NABORS HEAD TO THE HILL    Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and White House Director of Legislative Affairs Rob Nabors are scheduled to meet separately with each of the top four congressional leaders Thursday on Capitol Hill for closed-door fiscal cliff negotiations.

Geithner will meet this morning with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., followed by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. In the afternoon, Geithner will meet with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., followed by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California. -  Read more at The Hill

CEOs OPTIMISTIC AFTER W.H. MEETING    Business executives emerged from a meeting with President Obama on Wednesday optimistic that a fiscal cliff compromise is starting to take shape.

“We had a constructive meeting,” Comcast’s Brian Roberts said. “It’s encouraging that the president and Congressional leaders are focused on coming to an agreement that if reached could unleash a real wave of optimism. The sense of the meeting was if this occurs, the economic growth in the New Year may be even greater than many have predicted.”  -  Read more at The New York Times 

SIMPSON, BOWLES AREN'T BUYING INTO THE OPTIMISM     On the other hand, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, former co-chairs of President Obama’s fiscal commission of 2010, don't share the business leaders’ optimism on fiscal cliff negotiations. Bowles told reporters on Wednesday that he believes there’s only a one-in-three chance that Congress and the White House will reach an agreement on deficit reduction before the year’s end.
“We have a real crisis, and I think it would be insane to reach the fiscal cliff, but I think that there’s only a one-third probability of Congress getting something done before Dec. 31,” Bowles said.  “You all know what it means if we don’t, if we go over the cliff — I think you’ll see economic growth slowed by as much as 3 to 5 percent. That’s obviously enough to put us back into a recession.”

Bowles added that he thinks it’s more likely that a deal will be reached after the Dec. 31. deadline.  -  Read more at ABC

CONSERVATIVE GROUPS THREATEN GOP    Conservatives are losing patience with Republicans as more and more GOP lawmakers break from Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge. Brent Bozell, a prominent conservative activist and fundraiser, threatened to steer donors away from the Republican Party if the GOP lawmakers agree to raise taxes on the wealthy as part of a fiscal cliff deal. He made that threat in a letter to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Wednesday.

 “Reince, it pains me to say this, but if the Republican Party breaks its word to the American people and goes along with President Obama with tax increases, it will have betrayed conservatives for the final time,” Bozell wrote.  “I will make it my mission to ensure that every conservative donor to the Republican Party that I have worked with for the last three decades — and there are many and they have given tens of millions to Republican causes — gives not one penny more to the Republican Party or any member of Congress that votes for tax increases.”  

Bozell sent a separate letter to Republican leadership earlier this week urging the lawmakers to reconsider raising revenue as part of a fiscal cliff deal. Bozell was prompted to write the letters to Republicans after several senior GOP lawmakers including Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-GA, publically distanced themselves with Norquist’s anti-tax pledge.  -  Read more at The Hill

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Brianna Ehley is the former Washington Correspondent for The Fiscal Times. She is currently a reporter on Politico's health care team in Washington, D.C.