Sen. Udall: Budget fix may come post-election

The lame-duck session of Congress could hold the best opportunity to avoid a fall off the “fiscal cliff” that both parties in Congress say they want to avoid, said Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo..

The “fiscal cliff” refers to a set of tax increases and spending reductions that are to go into effect Jan. 1 to increase federal revenues and pare federal spending. Congress would have to act to swerve away from the cliff.

In a lame-duck session, politicians tend to be more flexible and willing to tackle difficult decisions, Udall said.

President Barack Obama has drawn up a series of plans for what might happen when Congress returns to Washington, D.C., after the election, gaming out policy options, Udall said in an interview with The Daily Sentinel.

The symbolism of a cliff is a bit hyperbolic, Udall said. “It’s more like a very steep slope.”

Rolling down can inflict more pain than a fall, though, and in both cases, there’s still a hard stop at the bottom, Udall said.

Either way, he said, it’s better not to go off the edge.

Should Republican Mitt Romney be elected president, there also is a chance that Congress might go forward with his blessing, Udall said.

Romney “might want us to do the heavy lifting,” Udall said.

Mutual distrust between the chambers is holding back some of the progress that otherwise might be made, Udall said, noting the 70 senators are willing to sign on to the Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction commission recommendations, but only on the condition that the House will sign off on them as well.


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