LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Mike Beebe is scheduled to meet with President Obama on Tuesday as part of the executive committee of the National Governors Association to discuss the fiscal cliff, its impact on states and possible ways to resolve the impasse between Congress and the White House.
Beebe, along with Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, who is chairman of the NGA, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will meet with Obama at the White House and hold a news conference on their discussions later on the White House lawn.
The fiscal cliff is the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts coupled with reductions in federal spending that are to take place automatically Jan. 1 unless Congress acts to stop them. If Congress does not act, there will be an immediate 9.4 percent across-the-board cut in defense spending and an 8.2 percent reduction in money for domestic initiatives, according to a report released in September by the White House.
Last week, Obama proposed a package to include $1.6 trillion in new revenues and new spending on jobless insurance and investment projects, coupled with savings from entitlement programs. Congressional Republicans rejected the idea and Monday countered with a plan calling for $2.2 trillion in savings from tax reforms, health care reductions and cuts in discretionary spending.
Donna Morey, president of the Arkansas Education Association, said last week that failure to reach an agreement would mean, among other things, a loss to the state of $12.7 million in federal Title I grants, $9.2 million in special education grants and $6.2 million for Head Start.