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Search Tags: fiscal cliff
In his first news conference since Election Day, President Barack Obama took questions from reporters on a range of issues, including impending across-the-board budget cuts and the widening sex scandal that ensnared CIA Director David Petraeus.
President Barack Obama and leaders of the lame-duck Congress may be just weeks away from shaking hands on a deal to avert the dreaded "fiscal cliff." So it's natural to wonder: If they announce a bipartisan package promising to curb mushrooming federal deficits, will it be real?
The dealmakers who warn that a year-end plunge off the "fiscal cliff" would be disastrous don't seem to be rushing to stop it. Why aren't they panicking?
Sens. Mark Warner and Bob Corker and Rep. Chris Van Hollen all believe there is at better than a 50 percent chance Congress and the White House will agree on a budget reduction plan before Jan. 1. But federal pay and benefits, and contract spending remain on the table to be part of the cuts.
Many in government are worried about the threat of sequestration, the across-the-board budget cuts set to take effect in January unless Congress and the White come up with an alternative deficit-cutting plan. But federal employee groups and sympathetic lawmakers are also concerned about such alternatives -- if they contain changes to federal employee pay or compensation. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and a slate of federal-employee unions and groups are warning of such proposals in the deficit talks to replace sequestration.
In the latest proposals traded back and forth between the White House and Boehner, the President proposed changing the formula the Labor Department uses to measure inflation — which would reduce annual COLAs for Social Security beneficiaries, including federal and military retirees. Federal-employee unions and groups remain worried the COLA proposals are still very much on the table.