Ben White, the chief economic correspondent for Politico, said Monday that a deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff appeared to be imminent now that the national spotlight had moved to gun violence.
“I don’t think either side at this point has a lot of appetite for brinksmanship anymore,” he explained on Current TV. “I think the tragic events in Connecticut have taken the spotlight off of this, rightly so. I think there is a reduced incentive for people to be at each others throats. I think they want to get a deal done and I think it will get done.”
President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner have moved closer to a budget deal to prevent the unwanted combination of across-the-board spending cuts and tax increases from taking effect at the beginning of next year.
“I think there are Republicans and Democrats in Washington who realize the American people are tired of conflict, they’re focused on what is happening in Connecticut, they’re focused on people in their families, they want to be with their families over the Christmas holiday and they certainly don’t want to watch these guys continue to talk about this ridiculous fiscal cliff,” White said.
The budget negotiations had faced an impasse as House Republicans refused to raise taxes on wealthy Americans. Late last week, Boehner offered to raise taxes on millionaires. Obama countered on Monday by offering a tax increase on those making more than $400,000 annually. He had previously called for taxes to increase on those making more than $250,000 annually.
Obama is also seeking $50 billion in new infrastructure spending, extending emergency unemployment benefits and raising the federal debt limit. The President has also agreed to adjust the measure of inflation for safety net programs like Social Security, which would result in an estimated $130 billion in savings.
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube by Current TV, below: