A bipartisan group of U.S. House lawmakers have drafted a "grand bargain" bill that would reduce the deficit by at least $5 trillion over 10 years and avoid the "fiscal cliff."
Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Ill.), who announced Tuesday his retirement from the House, revealed the plan at a Thursday press conference.
The proposal would apparently contain elements that each party both supports and dislikes. It would reduce the growth in entitlement spending, which Republicans prefer but Democrats disfavor, and increase revenue, which Democrats prefer but Republicans disfavor.
The plan builds upon the one offered by President Barack Obama's Deficit Reduction Task Force, also called "Simpson-Bowles." LaTourette called it "Simpson-Bowles Plus," because it also contains reforms for Medicare.
A similar bill was voted on in April but only got a meager 38 votes. Most of the members of Congress voted for their own party's alternative bill rather than the compromise measure.
LaTourette believes he will get more votes after the election is over. Some members have already told him, LaTourette said, that they would vote for the bill, but not before the election.
LaTourette believes that both parties will have an incentive to compromise because of the pending "fiscal cliff," when automatic spending cuts and tax increases will go into effect. The Congressional Budget Office has warned that the "fiscal cliff" will cause a recession, but doing nothing about the nation's debt will harm economic growth in the long-term.
"The current atmosphere, it's a little bit like an alcoholic in my mind," LaTourette said. "I think the place has to hit bottom before they realize they've got a problem and ... get it fixed."
LaTourette cited the bitter partisanship and the inability of Congress to pass important pieces of legislation as the reasons for his decision to retire Tuesday.
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Barack Obama came close to negotiating a "grand bargain" last summer during the debate over raising the nation's debt limit, but those talks fell through.