Bob Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, said, "What they are talking about is fairly significant. It represents real progress, it's not just a symbolic downpayment. But it also isn't the Grand Bargain we need.
"The package they are talking about is big enough that it will require both parties to use real political capital to push it through Congress. But unfortunately, it's not big enough to solve our deficit problem. I'm afraid the leadership will be so worn down getting this through Congress they won't be able to follow this up with additional deficit reduction packages," he said.
A report released this week by eight U.S. think tanks that hosted four "Strengthening of America" fiscal forums this fall argues the U.S. faces a huge fiscal challenge that will take years of disciplined and purposeful work to address.
"It is almost certain that no plan enacted this month will be large enough or comprehensive enough to put the federal budget on a sustainable path. At best, it will be a 'down payment' on further deficit reduction. While this would be preferable to the alternative, we must not try to avoid near-term distress by courting long-term catastrophe," it says.
The report argues that policymakers should achieve at least $4 trillion in savings from a realistic baseline this year.