Democrats and Republicans have taken tough shots at the opposite party's deficit-reduction plan. While there are some major differences between the plans offered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., which was endorsed by the White House, and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, there are also some important similarities. Here are six areas that the two plans have in common:
1. Nearly identical domestic discretionary spending targets for fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2013: In 2012, that number for the Boehner plan is $1.044 trillion, compared to $1.045 trillion for the Reid plan. The following fiscal year, Boehner's and Reid's plans both have an identical target: $1.047 trillion.
2. Caps on growth of future discretionary spending to inflation: The spending caps set numerical targets for each year. They are fixed until 2014 and then rise with inflation until 2021. Boehner uses a slightly more generous inflation-adjustment tool, the Consumer Price Index, while Reid ties inflation to the Gross Domestic Product. The variation between the two is very slight.
3. Tough enforcement methods: Both plans have tough enforcement methods if Congress ignores discretionary spending caps—Boehner uses across-the-board cuts to enforce the caps, while Reid would use a 60-vote threshold to go over the cap and across-the-board cuts if a spending cap is breached.
4. Waste, fraud, abuse-fighting: Both proposals seek sizable savings from fighting waste, fraud, and abuse in entitlement programs. Reid envisions $40 billion, while Boehner doesn't list a number. Language in both bills is very similar on this policy.
5. Education: Both proposals would improve efficiency in higher educationPell Grants.
6. Committee: Both proposals would create a 12-member congressional committee to study future deficit reduction. Neither explicitly rules out tax increases. Both plans pledge to bring committee proposals to the House and Senate floor on an expedited basis.
Ethan Klapper contributed.