William Faulkner wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” The line certainly applies to the work of former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles who co-authored the infamous 2010 deficit reduction plan that now seems to be enjoying a revival of sorts. “Simpson-Bowles” was the most popular Google search during Wednesday night’s debate, and the duo is headed to Virginia’s Mount Vernon this week to meet with the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” to discuss a deal to avoid plummeting off the fiscal cliff. And they’ve recently met with Speaker John Boehner, almost half of the Senate, major columnists and business leaders. Last time around, Simpson-Bowles caught heat from the left for cutting entitlements too deep. This time, they’re making finer tweaks to health care programs and are trying to strengthen safety net protections for low-income individuals. While they won’t be involved in any final deal making, their stamp of approval, could help provide legitimacy to any final plan that emerges, a House leadership aide said.
08 Oct 2012