About 130 Congress members, independent experts, and advocacy group members will converge on the White House today to address the fiscal health of the United States. The summit is the first step in President Obama’s administration to prioritize plans on how to cut the deficit in half to $533 billion by the end of his first term.
Senator Judd Gregg said, “It can either be a nice press event. Or it can be a substantive event.” Gregg indicated that in past meetings participants have focused on rehashing problems rather than staying focused on how to solve the problems.
One solution that may be discussed is a piece of legislation written by Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Their legislation would be to create a bipartisan commission that would deal with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and many House Democrats appear to be opposed to a commission being formed, while President Obama has indicated that he would consider the idea if it means moving toward a solution.
On CNN’s “State of the Union” program yesterday, Senator McConnell stated that he hoped the summit would be “about sobering up here and beginning to rethink the kind of debt that we’re laying on future generations.” He believes that any move would be a step toward getting better control of our nation’s deficit.
Peter Orszag, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, believes that discussions to overhaul the U.S. health care system will lure Republicans to support the new fiscal proposals being discussed at the summit. According to Orszag, “Health care is the key to our fiscal future so we need to get health care costs under control and we want to do that this year.”
President Obama stated yesterday, “It will require doing all we can to get exploding deficits under control as our economy begins to recover.”
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