Analysis: 'Gang of Eight' Starts On Fiscal Cliff Negotiations | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Filed Under:

Analysis: 'Gang of Eight' Starts On Fiscal Cliff Negotiations

Play associated audio

Hopes are fading on Capitol Hill that lawmakers will reach a deal anytime soon to head off major federal government cuts due to kick in on January 2. David Hawkings, editor of the CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing, talks with WAMU's Morning Edition host Matt McCleskey about the latest on the talks. 

On whether the bipartisan 'Gang of Eight' senators, who were said to be close to forging a deal, could do it before the election: "I really don't think so for two reasons. One is that the outcome of the election will really shape the parameters … of any deal they might come  up with," says Hawkings. "The other is … the last time a gang like this got together … Speaker [of the House John] Boehner and President Obama were close to negotiating a deal on their own and it was actually a gang like this that put out their own recommendation and kind of messed up the deal between Boehner and Obama."

Why the Gang of Eight would be heading to Mount Vernon for a meeting next week if they can't reach a deal in the near future: "The real reason is this deal is an enormously complicated thing. To come up with $4 trillion of savings over 10 years requires dozens and dozens of small decisions," Hawkings says. "If they want to avoid those across-the-board cuts, they need to propose individual choices on hundreds of items, some of which are easy, some of which are only slightly tough, some of which are tough and some of which are really tough. They want to get through those first couple or three categories now." 

How the outcome of the election will affect the negotiations: "I would suggest that whichever side dominates the election will have an edge in these talks," Hawkings says. "If President Obama wins this election and Democrats hold the Senate, they will have a little more leverage going into the talks about taxes. And if Republicans win and the new president is Mitt Romney, spending cuts and Medicare changes would be the dominant thing." 

On whether lawmakers will ultimately find a way to avoid the 'fiscal cliff' that is looming: "I don't think hope is fading … I think either way, neither side wants to go over this cliff," Hawkings says. "At worst, they will extend things into next year so the new president and the new Congress can really figure this out."  

NPR

The Exquisite Dissonance Of Kehinde Wiley

The Brooklyn Museum's mid-career Wiley retrospective wraps up this week; his large, elaborate works depict black men and women in traditional forms like oil, bronze sculture and even stained glass.
NPR

In New Jersey, A Beef Over Pork Roll Sparks Rival Festivals

What is pork roll? As one fan puts it, "It's like Spam meets bacon." And this Saturday, Trenton, N.J., will host not one, but two competing festivals devoted to this Garden State meat delicacy.
NPR

Fast-Track Trade Authority, A Step Toward Asia Deal, Passes Full Senate

The bill still must clear the House. The measure would clear the way for President Obama's Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is unpopular with labor groups and some Democrats.
NPR

The Future Of Cardiology Will Be Shown In 3-D

The Living Heart Project aims to create a detailed simulation of the human heart that doctors and engineers can use to test experimental treatments and interventions.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.