By Mike Lillis - 11/16/12 06:46 PM EST
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Friday that she's hoping to get at least $4 trillion in deficit reduction from the fiscal cliff negotiations that officially launched this week.
"Even if we didn't come out of the room with a solution ... we came out with a plan of action, an understanding of what we wanted to achieve, a timetable for how to get it done [and] what would spring from those discussions," Pelosi said from her office in the Capitol. "Each of us had some idea about how we can get this done in a way that instills confidence even as we proceed down the path."
Pelosi said the participants — including Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — did not go into specifics about how much deficit reduction they want the package to deliver. But Pelosi herself is eyeing something akin to the $4 trillion, 10-year package that Obama and Boehner had weighed at the height of the 2011 debt-ceiling fight.
"We did not discuss a number," she said, "[but] I think it would be good if we did something in the $4-trillion category of deficit reduction, which is similar to the grand bargain that was discussed last year. And so that would be the standard that I would have."
She emphasized that she wasn't speaking for everyone.
"I don't want to leave the impression that that was [everyone's goal]," she said. "Maybe we can do more."
Pelosi stressed the importance of getting a balanced plan that would combine new revenues with spending cuts, and she reiterated her position that she'll accept reforms to entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security but not cuts to benefits under those programs.
"In terms of entitlement reform, what is it? ... What do you mean by structural reform?" she asked. "That's what we'll be discussing."
Although Congress is leaving town Friday for an 11-day Thanksgiving break, Pelosi said leaders will be working behind the scenes to reach a deal, which she's hoping to wrap up "well before Christmas."
"We're working on it all the time," she said. "We have some goals for Wednesday and then we have some goals for when we come back."
She did not mention what those goals are.