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

'Theeb' Looks At Middle East History Through The Eyes Of A Bedouin Boy

The Oscar-nominated film is set in 1916 Saudi Arabia, a pivotal time in the region. Director Naji Abu Nowar says he wanted to explore "how strange and surreal it must have been" for the Bedouins.
NPR

Beer And Snack Pairings: A Super Bowl Game Everyone Can Win

Which beer goes with guacamole? How can a brew complement spicy wings? Two craft beer experts share their favorite pairings and help us take our Super Bowl snack game to the next level.
NPR

#MemeOfTheWeek: Bernie Or Hillary. Sexist or Nah?

A series of fake campaign posters locking Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton was just supposed to be funny, said the meme's creator. Except a lot of people thought it was sexist.
NPR

Twitter Says It Has Shut Down 125,000 Terrorism-Related Accounts

The announcement comes just weeks after a woman sued Twitter, saying the platform knowingly let ISIS use the network "to spread propaganda, raise money and attract recruits."

Leave a Comment

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