Ilisa Halpern Paul, a health care lobbyist and chair of government relations at Drinker Biddle & Reath.
The key to avoiding the “cliff” may be reaching the “Gang of Six” — the bipartisan group of six senators that worked to resolve the debt ceiling crisis.
“I’m hopeful that the leadership and ‘Gang of Six’ are still having conversations,” Paul said.
“I’ve been at this 20 years. When I first came to Washington, you could make a deal and it wasn’t seen as weak or giving in. I remain hopeful we can return there, but it’s going to require a number of folks willing to break with the leadership and the party.”
— Catherine Ho
Steve Case, chairman and chief executive of Revolution, a District-based investment firm.
The former AOL chairman-turned-venture capitalist sees a precedent for bipartisanship. Case championed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, which passed both chambers of Congress and was signed into law by President Obama this spring. The bill aims to ease the regulatory burdens on young companies and make it easier for them to raise money.
“It was a great example of what can happen when both sides of the aisle agree on the fundamental outcome, and can compromise on the path to that outcome,” Case said. “I do think it was a tremendous sign of progress, and can be replicated in other legislation.”
— Steven Overly
Douglas J. Donatelli, chairman and chief executive of the Bethesda real estate firm First Potomac Realty Trust.
Donatelli said new revenue and cuts are both probably needed, but that the most important thing for the economy — above all — is that a decision be made.
Donatelli said that even companies with plenty of cash on hand feel so uncertain about the future that they are unable or unwilling to make any new investments, whether that means hiring new people or signing a new lease.
“Unfortunately, I am not all that optimistic. I think there are certain people who would like to say, ‘Let’s drive this thing off the cliff and see what happens,’ ” he said.
— Jonathan O’Connell
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