Lawmakers are scrambling to strike a deficit reduction deal before the end-of-year deadline, and in a press conference today, President Obama called the failure to get a deal done “mind-boggling.”
The dysfunction is even more mind-boggling when you consider just how close both sides were before the talks collapsed. House Republicans and the White House had been gradually giving ground and getting closer to a broad deficit reduction package. As the chart above shows, the last offers from the Republicans and the White House were extremely close, off by only a few hundred billion on either side of the ledger. One or two more rounds of negotiations may have sealed it.
Instead, the House Republican caucus revolted, Speaker John Boehner walked away from the talks, and we find ourselves here, three days from the deadline with only flickers of hope that an agreement will be reached in time.