Washington Week Ahead: Deficit talks continue as deep divisions remain
By Sara Wyant
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
WASHINGTON, July 11 - President Barack Obama and top Congressional leaders are scheduled to meet again today to discuss a deficit reduction deal, after weekend talks failed to narrow the differences over the size and scope of the package. The president will also hold a news conference at 11 a.m. ET Monday to discuss the status of the debt talks.
Just a week earlier, both the President and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, appeared to be making headway on a package that would reduce the deficit by $4 trillion. But on Saturday, Boehner said such a deal would not be achievable because of the tax increases demanded by the White House.
"Despite good-faith efforts to find common ground, the White House will not pursue a bigger debt reduction agreement without tax hikes,” Boehner said in a statement. “ I believe the best approach may be to focus on producing a smaller measure, based on the cuts identified in the Biden-led negotiations, that still meets our call for spending reforms and cuts greater than the amount of any debt limit increase."
Discussions led by Vice President Joe Biden included about $2.4 trillion in savings over the next decade.
Ranking Minority Member Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, confirmed that a $4 trillion package is now off the table during an appearance on Fox News Sunday.
"Everything they've told me and the speaker is that to get a big package would require big tax increases in the middle of the economic situation," McConnell said. “That's extraordinarily difficult with 9.2 percent unemployment. We think it's a terrible idea. It's a job-killer.”
Yet, with only a few weeks to reach a deal on raising the nation's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling before an Aug. 2 deadline, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner warned that failure to act is not an option.
“Congress has to act,” Geithner said on NBC's Meet the Press. “The longer we go into July, the more risk there will be in financial markets and the more concern there is that America cannot get its act together and you'll see that reflected in higher interest rates and more concerned loss of confidence."
President Barack Obama talks with members of his staff in the Oval Office following a meeting with the Congressional Leadership, July 7, 2011. Pictured with the President, from left, are: Chief of Staff Bill Daley; Rob Nabors, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs; Bruce Reed, Chief of Staff to the Vice President; National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling; Jason Furman, Principal Deputy Director of the National Economic Council; Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew; Senior Advisor David Plouffe; and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
For more events this week:
Monday July 11, 2011:
The Senate and the House are in session at 2 p.m.
2:00 p.m., Deputy Secretary Merrigan will attend the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council meeting and give remarks at the press conference afterward in Richmond, VA.
USDA Reports: Crop Progress
Tuesday July 12, 2011:
10:00 a.m., Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources will hold a full committee hearing to receive testimony on S. 1160, the Department of Energy Administrative Improvement Act of 2011; S. 1108 the 10 Million Solar Roofs Act of 2011; and S. 1142 the Geothermal Exploration and Technology Act of 2011. 366 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
10:00 a.m., Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a full committee hearing entitled, “Oversight Hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency's Implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act's Unregulated Drinking Water Contaminants Program”. 406 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
10:30 a.m., House Committee on Appropriations, will hold a full committee Mark Up on - FY 2012 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill. 2359 Rayburn House Office Building.
11:00 a.m., Deputy Secretary Merrigan will hold a rural development event to highlight Rural Business Enterprise Grants in Lebanon, TN.
3:00 p.m., House Committee on Rules will hold a full committee hearing focused on H.R. 2018, the “Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011”. H-314 The Capitol.
3:30 p.m., Deputy Secretary Merrigan will speak at the second general session of the School Nutrition Association National Conference in Nashville, TN.
USDA Reports: World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, Grains: World Markets and Trade, Crop Production, World Agricultural Production, Cotton: World Markets and Trade, Oilseeds: World Markets and Trade, Latest U.S. Agricultural Trade Data, and Season-Average Price Forecasts
Wednesday July 13, 2011:
9:00 a.m., Senate Committee on Finance and House Committee on Ways and Means will hold a joint hearing entitled, “Tax Reform and the Tax Treatment of Debt and Equity”. HVC- 210 Capitol Visitor Center.
10:00 a.m., House Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Rural Development, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture will hold a hearing entitled, “Agricultural Program Audit: Examination of Foreign Agriculture and Food Aid Programs”. 1300 Longworth House Office Building.
USDA Reports: Livestock and Meat Trade Data, Broiler Hatchery, U.S. Agricultural Trade Data Update, Oil Crops Outlook, Cotton and Wool Outlook, and Rice Outlook
Thursday July 14, 2011:
9:00 a.m., House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy will hold a hearing entitled, “Regulatory Chaos: Finding Legislative Solutions to Benefit Jobs and the Economy”. 2322 Rayburn House Office Building.
10:00 a.m., Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry will hold a full committee hearing entitled, “Growing Jobs in Rural America”. G50 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
10:00 a.m., House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Oversight Hearing on "Secure Rural Schools Reauthorization and Forest Management Options for a Viable County Payments Program”. 1334 Longworth House Office Building.
10:00 a.m., House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight will hold a hearing entitled, “EPA's IRIS Program: Evaluating the Science and Process Behind Chemical Risk Assessment”. 2318 Rayburn House Office Building.
1:30 p.m., House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight, and Government Spending will hold a hearing entitled, “EPA's Appalachian Energy Permitorium: Job Killer of Job Creator?” 2154 Rayburn House Office Building.
2:00 p.m., House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold an Oversight Hearing on “Abandoned Mined Lands: Innovative Solution for Restoring the Environment, Improving Safety and Creating Jobs”. 1324 Longworth House Office Building.
2:00 p.m., House Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, and Credit, will hold a hearing entitled, “Agricultural Program Audit: Examination of USDA Farm Loan Programs”. 1300 Longworth House Office Building.
USDA Reports: U.S. Export Sales, Wheat Outlook, Feed Outlook, and Aquaculture Data
Friday July 15, 2011:
9:00 a.m., House Committee on Natural Resources will hold a full committee oversight hearing, “Offshore Energy: Interior Department's Plans for Offshore Energy, Revenue, and Safety Reorganization”. 1324 Longworth House Office Building.
USDA Reports: Dairy Products Prices, Meat Price Spreads, Peanut Prices, Dairy: World Markets and Trade, Turkey Hatchery, and Global Food Security Assessment
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