The call for negotiations on long-term deficit cuts would mark a return to basics for the House Republican majority.
Shortly after taking control in 2011, the rank and file initiated a series of demands to cut spending, culminating in an agreement with Obama that cut more than $2 trillion over a decade.
About half of that is the result of painful across-the-board cuts that both parties have reason to review in any upcoming negotiations — Republicans because of the impact on the Pentagon, and Democrats for the reductions in domestic programs.
After four years of trillion-dollar deficits, the 2013 shortfall is expected to register below $700 billion.
At the same time, the nation's debt rises inexorably. It was $10.6 trillion when Obama took office during the worst recession in decades, and has grown by $6.1 trillion in the years since.