In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Hoyer Working Behind The Scenes On Major Deficit Reduction Bill

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"Members of both parties, and on both sides of the Capitol, are working to ensure that the next time we find ourselves at an impasse -- which could be sooner, rather than later -- we will be ready, with a legislative package in hand to address our debt and deficit in a comprehensive, long-term way," Hoyer said.

Hoyer declined to discuss the specifics of this bill, but suggested it would deal with spending and tax policies of all kinds. He and his colleagues face one key problem: there's a lot of white space on the legislative calendar this year, and that means they'll have a hard time leveraging unwilling members into action.

If, however, he can get members of both parties to vote in significant numbers for this bill -- including broad Republican support for higher taxes -- it would have significant implications for both Congressional elections, and the ultimate policy direction the government takes when it ultimately does lock in a deficit reduction plan.

Asked for further details, Hoyer said to look for developments in weeks, not months.

"There is ongoing work...to put concrete proposals to paper in legislative form, so that as I said there will be an opportunity to offer those proposals," Hoyer said. "Obviously you want to create a large consensus for that before you offer it so that its defeat is, if defeated, temporary only and not undermining of what the objective is, and that is getting a big, bold, balanced plan adopted."

Hoyer went on, "There is work ongoing and I expect that work to be largely completed before the budget is offered."