November 28, 2012

Business and labor push for 'fiscal cliff' deal

Maine groups are among those trying to impress on Washington the urgency of forging a solution.

By Kevin Miller kmiller@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

U.S. President Obama delivers remarks at the White House in Washington
click image to enlarge

President Obama speaks at the White House Wednesday. He said reaching agreement to avoid the looming “fiscal cliff” is “too important for Washington to screw up.”

REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque

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WASHINGTON – The White House and a key congressional Democrat hinted at fresh concessions on taxes and cuts to Medicare and other government benefit programs Wednesday as bargaining with Republicans lurched ahead to avoid the year-end "fiscal cliff" that threatens to send the economy into a tailspin.

Increasing numbers of rank-and-file Republicans also said they were ready to give ground, a boost for House Speaker John Boehner and other party leaders who say they will agree to higher tax revenues as part of a deal if it also curbs benefit programs as a way to rein in federal deficits.

"I'll go anywhere and I'll do whatever it takes to get this done," President Obama said as he sought to build pressure on Republicans to accept his terms -- a swift renewal of expiring tax cuts for all but the highest income earners. "It's too important for Washington to screw this up," he declared.

There were no face-to-face talks between the administration and lawmakers Wednesday, although the White House is dispatching Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and top legislative aide Rob Nabors to a series of sessions with congressional leaders on Thursday.

-- The Associated Press

“If we could get this right, I think we could unleash a real lion of economic growth,” Bennett said. “The alternative is too gruesome to really contemplate. I think we will get thrown into a recession. Interest rates … may go catastrophically through the roof. And we know that Moody’s and Fitch and S&P will likely downgrade the (credit) ratings.”

The White House released Maine-specific tax numbers Wednesday night as it seeks to show how letting tax cuts expire will affect non-wealthy citizens:

A family of four in Maine earning $78,300 would see its income taxes rise $2,200 if the cuts are not re-adopted. According to the president’s Council of Economic Advisors, allowing income taxes to rise for the middle class would slow the growth of Maine’s gross domestic product by 1.8 percent and reduce consumer spending in the state by $900 million in 2013.

Bennett and a group of other campaign members from other states met with U.S. Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree, both Maine Democrats, as well as Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Mich.

Likewise, the MEA’s Kilby-Chesley as well as Maine AFL-CIO President Don Berry met separately with Michaud, Pingree and staffers within the offices of Maine Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins.

Staff Writer Kevin Miller can be contacted at 317-6256 or at:

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