The budget whisperers are at it again.
As the effects of the so-called sequester cuts began to bite, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles recently offered a revision of their 2010 deficit reduction proposal, often referred to simply as "Simpson-Bowles."
Bowles, a former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton, and Simpson, a former Republican senator, were the co-chairmen of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which was created by President Barack Obama to address the nation's fiscal challenges.
In a Washington Post op-ed on Sunday, they wrote:
"The plan we propose would achieve $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction through 2023, replacing the immediate, mindless cuts of the sequester with smarter, more gradual deficit reduction that would avoid disrupting a fragile economic recovery while putting the debt on a clear downward path relative to the economy over the next 10 years and beyond. Importantly, the plan would achieve this deficit reduction while respecting the principles and priorities of both parties."
Bloomberg Businessweek reported Tuesday that "the White House is quietly exploring the possibility of striking a deal with lawmakers to rein in the budget deficit," and one Republican legislator praised the move.
Hinting that a bipartisan breakthrough may finally be possible, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said that the new approach to negotiations by the White House is being welcomed by congressional Republicans.
On "Fox News Sunday," Corker said: "There ... is a chance on a deal. I know the president is saying the right things. And we have an opportunity over the next four to five months."
LEARN MORE ABOUT FEDERAL BUDGET ISSUES:
PBS: Obama budget plan with Medicare cuts, tax hikes
• Push to Require Online Sales Tax Divides the G.O.P.
"Legislation that would force Internet retailers to collect sales taxes from their customers has put antitax and small-government activists like Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform and the Heritage Foundation in an unusual position: they're losing." (The New York Times)
• For Team Obama, A Rocky Road to a 'Grand Bargain'
"President Obama's dinners and schmoozing with Senate Republicans in search of a major deal on spending, entitlements and taxes is making important headway and building much needed trust, according to one of Obama's top economic advisers. But the road to a "Grand Bargain" is still littered with landmines, and the White House is worried that persistent strong resistance from House Republicans will make a deal impossible." (The Fiscal Times)