"It is important that we put these drivers of the deficit on the table and include them as part of any agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff," House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor said of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Cantor, House Speaker John Boehner and other House Republican leaders met today on Capitol Hill with Bowles, who now leads a non-partisan advocacy group -- "Campaign to Fix the Debt" -- lobbying all sides to reach a grand bargain.
Bowles and members of his group met separately on Tuesday with senior members of Obama's economic team at the White House.
"We have a real crisis, and I think it would be insane to reach the 'fiscal cliff,' but I think that there's only a one-third probably of Congress getting something done before December 31st," Bowles said, sounding a cautionary note. "You all know what it means if we don't, if we go over the 'cliff,' I think you'll see economic growth slowed by as much as 3 to 5 percent. That's obviously enough to put us back into a recession."