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Dec 2, 2010

U.S. deficit-cutting plan advances in uphill climb

WASHINGTON, Dec 2 (Reuters) – Two more lawmakers pledged on
Thursday to support a plan to slash the U.S. budget deficit
drawn up by the co-chairmen of a presidential commission, but
the plan still faced long odds of moving to Congress.

With anxiety over government debt roiling markets in Europe
and driving global capital into U.S. Treasury bonds, Republican
Senators Tom Coburn and Mike Crapo said they will vote for the
bold proposal at a decisive commission meeting on Friday.

Dec 1, 2010

US deficit panel recalibrates, seeks more support

WASHINGTON, Dec 1 (Reuters) – A presidential panel on
balancing the U.S. budget on Wednesday revised its fiscal
austerity plan with deeper spending cuts and a more flexible
tax code overhaul, hoping to draw broader political support.

The 18-member commission, established in February by
President Barack Obama, discussed its revised plan at a public
meeting on Capitol Hill. The panel is due to vote on it on
Friday, two days later than originally scheduled.

Dec 1, 2010

Short on votes, deficit panel delays decision

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A presidential commission looking for ways to slash the budget deficit postponed final action on Tuesday on a bold fiscal austerity plan after it was unable to gather enough support among panel members.

In a stark display of deep political divisions over tax and spending issues, the 18-member panel led by co-chairmen Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles put off until Friday a final vote on their plan, which is expected to be unveiled on Wednesday.

Nov 30, 2010

Deficit panel may postpone decision: Schakowsky

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A presidential commission that is expected to vote later this week on a plan to balance the U.S. budget and cut the deficit may postpone its decision, commission member Representative Jan Schakowsky said on Tuesday.

“There’s a possibility always of postponing the decision. I’ve been asked what my availability is for Friday. I don’t know if that means one more day or more days,” Schakowsky, a Democrat, told Reuters in an interview.

Nov 30, 2010

Short on votes, US deficit panel paints grim view

WASHINGTON, Nov 30 (Reuters) – A presidential commission on
balancing the U.S. budget likely will fail on Wednesday to
secure enough support for its deficit-cutting plan to trigger a
congressional vote on it, aides and analysts said.

With just a day left before it releases the plan, the
commission’s co-chairmen were still scrambling to nail down 14
votes among the commission’s 18 members — a super-majority
threshold called for when the panel was created in February.

Nov 29, 2010

Tax, spending divide hampers U.S. deficit cut push

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two more proposals to cut the U.S. budget deficit emerged on Monday, underscoring a deep divide on taxes and spending that is likely to blunt the impact of a plan due in two days from a presidential panel.

The deficit and the national debt have soared in recent years.

The White House sharpened its focus on the issue on Monday, saying U.S. President Barack Obama will propose a two-year freeze on the pay of civilian federal workers.

Nov 18, 2010

Obama deficit panel wrestles healthcare ‘gorilla’

WASHINGTON, Nov 18 (Reuters) – A proposal to overhaul the
costly Medicare and Medicaid health programs met opposition on
Thursday in a closed-door meeting of a presidential commission
looking for ways to balance the U.S. budget.

As private groups studying the problem of the federal
deficit unleashed a wave of alternative plans, President Barack
Obama’s commission convened again on Capitol Hill with just 12
days left before it must issue a final report.

Nov 18, 2010

Medicare overhaul studied by deficit commission

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A proposal to overhaul the costly Medicare and Medicaid health programs met opposition on Thursday in a closed-door meeting of a presidential commission looking for ways to balance the U.S. budget.

As private groups studying the problem of the federal deficit unleashed a wave of alternative plans, President Barack Obama’s commission convened again on Capitol Hill with just 12 days left before it must issue a final report.

Nov 17, 2010

Bernanke defends Fed policy before skeptical lawmakers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Under withering fire at home and abroad, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke paid a visit to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to try to tamp down lawmakers’ anger over the central bank’s bond-buying program.

The program announced on November 3 has triggered far-flung criticism, from charges overseas that it is a plot to drive the dollar’s value down, to home-grown allegations that it sows the seeds for inflation and outstrips the Fed’s authority.

Nov 17, 2010

Soda pop, sales tax targeted to cut US deficit

WASHINGTON, Nov 17 (Reuters) – Warning of a “death spiral”
without drastic changes, a group of experts on the U.S. federal
budget deficit on Wednesday called for a 2011 Social Security
tax holiday, a soft drink tax and government spending freezes.

In an ambitious plan to slash the deficit and the
fast-mounting national debt, the group also called for a new
6.5 percent national sales tax, as well as lower and simpler
individual income and corporate tax rates.