Entries in Deficit Super Committee (3)


How to ‘Put the Period’ on the Supercommittee’s Sentence

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- While a Hail Mary pass could still save the supercommittee's mission to make $1.2 trillion in budget cuts by Wednesday, there is a poignant sense of doom and gloom on Capitol Hill Sunday.

As members of the supercommittee fanned out on the Sunday morning talk shows, pessimism seeped through the sputtering spin that both sides are legitimately working in the waning hours to broker a last-minute deal.

“The reality is to some extent starting to overtake hope,” co-chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, said this morning on “Fox News Sunday” -- a rare moment of candor at where this process really seems to be, although in the same breath he insisted that there still is reason to hope for a late moment breakthrough.

But quietly, contingency plans are being drawn up for when and if the members have to officially call this a failure. Aides confirm that on some levels there have been conversations about how to close the door on the supercommittee.

“There have been conversations about how to put the period on the sentence tomorrow if there is no deal,” a source familiar with the supercommittee confirmed this morning.

If members fail to reach a deal Sunday, likely at some point Monday the co-chairs of the committee, Hensarling and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., will issue a joint paper statement announcing the committee is over by failing to reach a deal.

Aides on Capitol Hill continue to insist that talks continue throughout the day today. But no one is optimistic that now, after months of hearings and meetings, that they will be able to bridge the divide.

“Hope remains,” a Democratic aide said of the day’s work that lays ahead the 12 members, adding that Democrats are waiting for Republicans to come back and put revenue on the table.

The halls of Congress are eerily quiet today. Aides say that meetings will take place at some point Sunday as they continue to work toward a last minute deal of some sort -- potentially one to lessen the blow if they can’t get to $1.2 trillion in cuts -- but as of now, no formal meetings have been scheduled.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Deficit Super Committee Keeps Congress in the Dark as Deadline Nears

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- With less than a month remaining until its deadline to engineer $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade, the Deficit Super Committee has worked exclusively over the past months behind closed doors, out of the public’s view, to determine whether the panel is making substantial progress.

On Wednesday, the committee will hold its first open public hearing in more than a month, as the director of the Congressional Budget Office, Doug Elmendorf, testifies on “Discretionary Outlays: Security and Non-Security.”
The lack of transparency has left many on Capitol Hill scratching their heads and wondering just what progress the committee has made since it last met publicly on Sept. 22.  Without a steady flow of information coming from the private meetings, it’s also left some political observers skeptical that the 12-member panel will succeed in reaching its mandate.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, co-chair of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, denied that the committee is struggling to make progress and reasserted his confidence that the exclusive, tight-lipped bipartisan group will succeed in identifying at least $1.5 trillion in cuts over the next decade by next month’s Nov. 23 deadline.

“I remain encouraged that the members of the Joint Select Committee know how serious the situation is,” Hensarling, R-Texas, said Tuesday.  “I believe they are all committed to achieving the goal, and until the stroke of midnight on November 22 we still have plenty of time to do the committee’s work.”

Late Tuesday evening, the committee announced another public hearing, scheduled for Nov. 1. That open meeting will feature testimony from the top architects of two other key deficit reduction plans, Simpson-Bowles and Domenici-Rivlin. The quartet have encouraged the committee to reach for the maximum savings and the committee is thought to be closely examining elements within the plans during private talks.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Deficit Super-Committee Held Closed-Door Breakfast Club Meeting

From left, Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., emerge from the private breakfast meeting of the Joint Deficit Reduction Committee in the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011. Bill Clark/Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- For its third meeting, the 12-member, deficit-reduction committee gathered in the U.S. Capitol Thursday for an early, closed-door breakfast over orange juice, coffee, pastries and bacon to talk about how it can achieve a plan for deficit reduction by Thanksgiving.

After emerging from the meeting, the co-chairs of the debt committee were scant on details about what nitty-gritty was discussed. Rather, they seemed to use the morning’s breakfast as more of a getting-to-know-you meeting, even as all the members have called for quick work with a November deadline and the threat of the trigger options looming.

“It’s the first opportunity many of us have had to meet in an unofficial setting,” committee co-chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, said. “And every member today is ready to roll up their sleeves and get about the tough business of deficit reduction. We know it will not be fun, we know it will not be easy, it will not be popular.”

This is the third formal meeting of the committee tasked with identifying $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction by Nov. 23, as born out of negotiations on the debt-ceiling deal. The first meeting last week was largely administrative in nature. The second committee meeting, on Tuesday of this week, featured a testimony from Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf about the past drivers of the nation’s deficits and debt.

Thursday’s meeting was largely about the interpersonal relationships among the members. The co-chairs had never even met before they were tasked in August to head the committee. In statements made by both co-chairs Thursday, they noted that they “stand at the ready to get to work.” The real work has yet to start. So, naturally, about 70 days before their deadline, the co-chairs were asked then when they will actually get to work.

“We will be putting out our schedule, hopefully, today,” Murray replied as she walked away.
Much hay has been made about the committee’s transparency. Two of the three meetings have been open to cameras thus far. Thursday’s was the first behind closed doors, generating statements from other members of Congress.

The co-chairs have said they will open hearings to cameras but in order to do the tough negotiating that needs to be done, some meetings have to be private.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio