The Budget Talks

There weren’t outward signs of progress on Monday as President Obama met with Senate leaders of both parties in separate meetings, as the White House stiffened its call for tax revenues to be part of any deal on the budget and debt limit.

“To get a significant deal, to get a significant deficit reduction, there has to be a balanced approach,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, who drew a line in the sand for the President that is much like the line in the sand drawn by Republicans, who say they won’t accept any deal with tax revenue increases.

“Democrats seem to think the solution to our debt crisis is to ask taxpayers and struggling businesses to reward their economic stewardship with even more money to spend as they please,” said Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell.

Last Thursday, Republicans got to score their points as top GOP lawmakers walked out of budget talks.

Monday it was Democrats establishing their own markers on what they won’t accept.

Does it mean we are at a budget impasse? That question was asked at the White House Briefing of Jay Carney, but he expressed optimism that a deal will be struck.

That made me wonder – are we just watching political choreography here? Both sides have made a very public statement in recent days about what they will and won’t accept in a debt limit agreement.

Will they now move into the Mode of Compromise next, and cut a deal that splits the difference, and has both parties giving in on certain details?

Democrats say they want to close loopholes and end tax subsidies as a way to bring in more revenue to Uncle Sam.  One thing they won’t be asking for are actual tax rate increases – which makes you wonder if that will provide the basis for a deal.

Nothing seems likely to happen today, as President Obama visits Iowa – ironically – on the same day that Sarah Palin will be in Iowa as well.

There is little buzz in the hallways of the Capitol about a deal at this time.

We’ll see if that changes any before July 4th.