Editor's note: David Gergen is a senior political analyst for CNN and has been an adviser to four presidents. He is a professor of public service and director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.
(CNN) - With tempers near a boiling point and the risk growing that the United States could default on its debt obligations, it is time for a truce in the budget talks in Washington - essentially a cease-fire in place.
The outlines of a cease-fire are readily apparent, and indeed there are signs that behind the scenes some conversations are already taking place. Here's what a truce might look like:
• Democrats agree to accept some $1.5 trillion in spending cuts that have been on the table but give up their demands that a deal also include significant tax increases.
• Republicans agree to lift the debt limit by some $2.5 trillion, enough to carry past the 2012 elections, but give up their demands that spending cuts must match or exceed the debt-limit increase dollar for dollar.
• Both sides agree to close tax loopholes and raise fees for government services, but agree to use the resulting revenue for offsetting payroll tax decreases and other means of pumping life in the economy, thus making the proposition revenue-neutral.
• Both sides agree that this fall, a new set of negotiators be appointed to press forward with additional ways to achieve credible, long-term deficit reductions.
A deal like this certainly won't meet the full expectations of Washington warriors, but it will be good for the country - and arguably, a lot better for the parties than their partisans may think.MORE
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