The First Summit on Our Way to a Deal?

On Friday, President Obama spoke on the need to replace the "fiscal cliff" with a comprehensive plan to address the nation's unsustainable fiscal path. Most importantly, President Obama announced that the White House would invite leaders from both parties, business groups, labor and civic groups from across the country for a meeting this week to begin working toward a compromise.

This is a encouraging sign, especially given the other statements we've heard in the last week from leaders in Congress. CRFB President Maya MacGuineas was optimistic in a statement from the Campaign to Fix the Debt, noting that the tone in Washington that has emerged quickly after the election is characteristic of Americans across the country:

The only real path for a deficit reduction agreement to gain the approval of both houses of Congress and the White House is to seek out a bipartisan approach. The Campaign to Fix the Debt applauds the President who, like House Speaker John Boehner and other leading policymakers this week, expressed the desire to talk, work out their differences, and put all parts of the budget on the negotiating table.

While there remain notable policy differences to hammer out, we are optimistic that this gap can be bridged in the weeks ahead as the parties enter into negotiations. We also appreciate the President's call to work with business, labor, and civic leaders on this important national challenge. Many of those leaders have joined the more than 300,000 concerned citizens across the country in signing the Citizen's Petition at, calling for a comprehensive resolution to our mounting debt.

Coming together for a bipartisan plan will be hard, especially as policymakers begin to make difficult choices. But if this week's discussion takes on the same tone, there is a good chance Congress and the President can make serious progress on a deal. As President Obama said himself, the American people demand it:

What the American people are looking for is cooperation. They’re looking for consensus. They’re looking for common sense. Most of all, they want action. I intend to deliver for them in my second term, and I expect to find willing partners in both parties to make that happen. So let’s get to work.

The press release from Fix the Debt can be found here.