Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner held a series of face-to-face meetings today on Capitol Hill to further negotiations on a budget agreement. Secretary Geithner is the lead negotiator for President Obama. He was accompanied to the Hill by Rob Nabors, White House chief legislative liaison. They met with Congressional leaders from both parties and from both the Senate and the House. It was reported that many substantive issues were discussed but no breakthroughs occurred. The two sides remain far apart on taxes, spending cuts and how and to what extent entitlement programs will be effected.
Staff level talks are expected to continue over the coming days. There is a concerted effort to arrive at an agreement before Christmas. If no agreement is reached by the first of the year, a number of changes in fiscal policy will take place including the expiration of tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush as well as spending cuts to both domestic and defense programs. The cuts, known as sequestration, affect child welfare funding streams including the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program and Child Welfare Services under Title IV-B of the Social Security Act, as well as other critical low-income support programs such as the Child Care Development Block Grant, Head Start, and the Social Services Block Grant. CWLA is circulating a petition to President Obama and Speaker Boehner not to balance the budget on the backs of vulnerable children and families and posted more information on the budget negotiations here.