By Bernie Becker, Erik Wasson, Peter Schroeder and Vicki Needham - 05/04/11 11:48 PM EDT
Of course, it should be noted: The two parties may generally agree on that $4 trillion figure, but they’re not exactly on the same page on the roles spending cuts and tax revenue should play in getting there.
Finally, a refresher on the members getting an invite to Blair House: On the Democratic side, Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, the chairman of the Finance Committee; Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee; Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 House Democrat; and Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the ranking member on House Budget. For the GOP, it will be Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the minority whip, and Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader.
WHAT ELSE TO WATCH FOR:
Whither Gang of Six?: The bipartisan group of senators are continuing to talk deficits, but have failed to unveil a plan before the Biden talks kick off.
Or, we should say, they will continue to talk: Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), one of the six, had to leave Tuesday in order to attend to personal matters.
But the group did receive something of a booster shot late Tuesday, when top executives at the Financial Services Roundtable urged the six senators to continue their discussions.
Yet not everyone has given the gang such positive vibes. Ryan Ellis of Americans for Tax Reform – the outfit run by Grover Norquist, who has had a very public back-and-forth with Coburn – tweeted Wednesday: “that sound you hear is me pissing on the gang of six's grave” and linked to a Washington Post story on the group’s current predicament.
Leaving on a jet plane: Elizabeth Warren, the adviser to President Obama on the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), will have more of a President Clinton-type agenda on Thursday.
Warren is set to speak at the Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas – a day after House Republicans targeted the CFPB and as Washington chatterers wonder aloud if the current president will nominate Warren as the bureau’s first director.
Hearing Roundup: The Senate Banking Committee is scheduled to save a seat at the witness table Thursday for Shaun Donovan, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, who will discuss his department’s 2012 budget request. As the administration begins to talk tough on the deficit, the president wants to carve out $43 billion for HUD in fiscal 2012 — a 1 percent decrease from its fiscal 2010 budget. As lawmakers begin to hash out how to overhaul the nation's sickly housing market, HUD will play a major role.
Over on the House side, a Ways and Means subcommittee will join the party on the issue of state and local pensions. The House Oversight Committee has also examined the issue, and roughly four-dozen House Republicans have signed on to a bill that would ban federal money from being used to bail out state and local governments that cannot meet their pension obligations.
The Labor Department’s weekly employment figures are out — a day before April's numbers that could show that employers added upward of 200,000 jobs last month.
Not there yet… The Obama administration may have signaled Wednesday that it’s moving forward with all three pending trade pacts, but that doesn’t mean the Senate GOP is calling off its blockade of trade nominees.
Senate Republicans have vowed to put holds and block cloture votes on, among others, the nominee to replace Commerce Secretary Gary Locke until actual implementing bills are submitted and Obama promises to sign the bills into law, a GOP aide pointed out Wednesday. Locke has been tapped as the next U.S. ambassador to China.
The movement on the trade deals with South Korea, Panama and Colombia (one that some liberals are not yet totally onboard with) could spark some other agreements on the trade front, as The Hill's Vicki Needham noted.
In a statement, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also called for talks on renewing fast-track trade negotiating authority, a power that allows the trade deals negotiated by the president to enjoy expedited up-or-down votes in Congress and is seen as crucial to completing trade deals.
Survey says… Another independent pollster – this time Quinnipiac – has found that voters are generally OK with raising taxes on the wealthy, and not quite as behind changes to Medicare and Medicaid.
According to Quinnipiac, 7 in 10 back higher taxes for households making $250,000 or more a year and, by a 60 percent to 34 percent margin, voters prefer Medicare stay as is instead of moving to a sort of voucher system.
WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:
On the Money’s Wednesday:
While Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Cantor (R-Va.) wanted some more specifics.
Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) warned House Republicans were thinking of needlessly provoking the markets.
The U.S. Chamber is looking for reinforcements.
The White House is speeding up its efforts to shed excess real estate.
SEC, CFTC heads state their case for more robust budgets.
While ADP’s April job numbers are not as robust as expected.
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