Conrad says bipartisan group of senators are still working to avoid the 'fiscal cliff'

The Senate Budget Committee Chairman said the group has come to a consensus that the deficit needs to be reduced by at least $4 trillion over the next 10 years. Conrad also said the group of bipartisan senators are using the Simpson-Bowles Fiscal Commission plan as its framework.

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The Simpson-Bowles Commission, ordered by President Obama, released a plan in 2010 that would have both reduced spending and increased revenue — something most Republicans have expressed a disinterest in doing. Earlier this summer, Sen. Patty MurrayPatty MurrayDems call for better birth control access for female troops US wins aerospace subsidies trade case over the EU Senate Dems unveil new public option push for ObamaCare MORE (D-Wash.), who co-chaired the supercommittee tasked to reduce the deficit, said she and some other Democrats were willing to let the sequestration cuts happen in January and would also allow the Bush-tax rates for all income earners expire at end of the year if Republicans didn’t agree to increasing taxes on the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. Republicans criticized that idea as taking the country over the “fiscal cliff.”

Conrad has expressed concern that the fiscal cliff could harm the economy in the near-term. On Monday, he said that the pressure to avoid the fiscal cliff could help prompt lawmakers to take action to avoid the situation by passing a comprehensive plan.

“As we look to avoid the fiscal cliff, it is my hope that we can replace the scheduled arbitrary, across-the-board sequester cuts and tax increases with even more savings from a balanced and comprehensive plan, like the Bowles-Simpson framework, that includes savings from entitlements, including healthcare, and tax reform that raises revenue,” Conrad said. “It is important that we adopt a comprehensive plan now, but that it be phased-in carefully so that the changes don’t worsen the fragile economic recovery.”