The bipartisan commission led by Vice President Joe Biden is looking to achieve at least $1 trillion in spending cuts, lawmakers say.
“We are confident that if we keep on this pace we can get to a relatively large number,” Biden told reporters on his way out of the group’s meeting at the Capitol. “I think we are in a position where we are going to be able to get to where we can get to $1 trillion, which will be a down-payment on the process.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) said the final number could be even higher. “Progress is being made,” Cantor said. “I am confident that we can achieve over $1 trillion in savings at this point, and hopefully more.”
“I think what this reveals is that actually coming together and finding some agreement on spending cuts is not that difficult,” he added.
Biden and Cantor differed, however, as to whether tax increases are on the table as the group works to draft an eventual deal to coincide with a vote to raise the country’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling — Biden said they must, Cantor said absolutely not. And neither would say exactly where the proposed cuts would come from.
Biden said the group was also considering “trigger” mechanisms that could generate up to $4 trillion in long-term savings (he did not specify a time frame). Republicans have insisted that any increase to the debt limit be offset by spending cuts of equal or greater value.