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Entries in Supercommittee (5)

Sunday
Nov272011

Sen. Pat Toomey 'Terribly Disappointed' in Supercommittee's Failure

US Senate(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Pat Toomey is upset that the congressional supercommittee he served on was unable to agree on major cuts to the deficit, but said he is "cautiously optimistic" that Congress can still work toward deficit reduction in the coming year.

"I am terribly disappointed," Toomey, R-Pa., told This Week anchor Christiane Amanpour. "I think our country would have benefited enormously from a constructive agreement by this committee.”

After months of negotiations, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction failed to compromise on a bipartisan deal to cut the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion, as required by the debt ceiling agreement reached this summer.

That failure will trigger mandatory across-the-board cuts to defense and domestic program spending beginning in 2013.

"The silver lining is the $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction, which was the goal of the legislation that created our committee, will still go into effect," Toomey said. "I think it's important that some configuration of those cuts in fact happen."

Toomey, however, said he believes that Congress can re-work the cuts to put less weight on reductions to the defense budget—and in a way that does not cause President Obama to veto the effort.

Toomey added that he believes there are still prospects for continued negotiations on deficit reduction in the coming year. Toomey led one effort on the supercommittee that proposed raising $300 billion on revenues, but his proposal was rejected by Democrats who opposed permanently extending the Bush tax cuts and lowering the highest tax rates.

"I spoke with a number of Democratic senators who were not serving on the supercommittee, who thought that the plan that we put forward was very constructive, was reasonable," Toomey said. "So I think there's a chance to work with some of the more moderate members of the Democratic caucus who want to make progress, who realize how important this is. So I'm cautiously optimistic."

He also expects an extension of payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits set to expire at the end of the year.

"We'll take that up, and I think probably some package of that with other features might very well pass," Toomey said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov222011

GOP Negotiator ‘Deeply Disappointed’ in Super Failure

Alex Wong/Getty Images for Meet the Press(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Rob Portman, the only GOP member of the supercommittee to react on-camera Monday night, told reporters that he is “deeply disappointed by the result.”

Asked what could have been done to help the committee succeed, Portman, the former director of the Office of Management and Budget, said the panel was unable “to bridge a gap in terms of our approach to spending and taxes.”

“Although we came close in this committee, there remained a gap. Republicans believe that the spending being much higher than it has historically been, that we need to restrain the spending, and do so in a way that’s pro-growth through tax reform in particular, and Democrats believe that we ought to pay for the increased spending by much higher taxes,” the Ohio senator said. “That’s a fundamental difference and until we resolve that difference it was tough to have this committee come together.”

Portman said that even though the supercommittee failed to strike an agreement, $1.2 trillion worth of reductions in spending will still occur through the sequester; the group, he said, generated a lot of “good ideas” to tackle the deficit.

“This committee through its work did produce a lot of good ideas, both on the mandatory side, the so-called healthcare entitlement programs, but also with regard to tax reform,” he said. “Hopefully Congress can now move forward on some of those specific initiatives from the committee to address the very real and bigger problems that we face.”

Asked whether there’s a possibility Congress change the sequestration through additional legislation, Portman said he is concerned that the defense cuts could weaken the military; last week, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said the cuts would be "devastating" to the armed forces.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov222011

Michael Bloomberg Slams Obama for Failed Supercommittee

The City of New York(NEW YORK) -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Monday that the failure of the supercommittee is a “damning indictment of Washington’s inability to govern” and blamed President Obama in part for the breakdown of the debt talks.

“It’s the chief executive’s job to bring people together and to provide leadership in difficult situations.  I don’t see that happening,” Bloomberg said at a news conference.  “The failure of the committee will mean that thousands of jobs that would have been created will just go without being created.  And thousands of men and women who would have gotten back to work will remain unemployed.”

Bloomberg, who has been rumored as a potential third-party candidate in the upcoming presidential elections, criticized both parties for their lack of action.

“I think it’s a failure, you know people say, who do you blame?  The blame is both sides of the aisle and both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue,” he said.

The White House has defended the president’s engagement with the supercommittee.

“This committee was established by an act of Congress . It was comprised of members of Congress.  Instead of pointing fingers and playing the blame game, Congress should act, fulfill its responsibility,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Monday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov222011

Obama Vows to Veto Attempts to Undo Automatic Spending Cuts

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After the Congressional supercommittee failed to reach a deal to cut the budget, President Obama vowed Monday night to veto any attempts to undo $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts that would take effect in 2013.

“Already some in Congress are trying to undo these automatic spending cuts.  My message to them is simple: No.  I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense spending,” he said in the White House briefing room.  “There will be no easy off-ramps on this one.  We need to keep the pressure up to compromise, not turn off the pressure.”

The president’s threat came just one hour after the leaders of the supercommittee announced they had failed to reach a deal to reduce the deficit, forcing the government to face the automatic cuts.

“The only way these spending cuts will not take place is if Congress gets back to work and agrees on a balanced plan to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion,” Obama said.

The president placed blame for the failure of the supercommittee squarely on Republicans.

“There are still too many Republicans in Congress who have refused to listen to the voices of reason and compromise that are coming from outside of Washington,” he said.

“They continue to insist on protecting a hundred billion dollars worth of tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans at any cost, even if it means reducing the deficit with deep cuts to things like education and medical research, even if it means deep cuts in Medicare… They simply will not budge from that negotiating position.  And so far, that refusal continues to be the main stumbling block that has prevented Congress from reaching an agreement to further reduce our deficit,” Obama said.

The president praised Democrats, however, for being willing to “put politics aside” and make reasonable adjustments to achieve a balanced approached to reducing the deficit.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov212011

Supercommittee Poised for 'Disappointing' End?

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Absent any last-minute deals, the supercommittee on Monday will issue a statement announcing its failure to reach a deal to cut $1.2 trillion from the deficit.

“I wouldn’t be optimistic” Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., said Monday morning on Fox News. “I don’t want to create any false hope here...there will be an announcement by the two co-chairs towards the end of the day as to what the result was either way.”

Aides to the supercommittee members continue to half-heartedly insist that there are still conversations taking place between members of the 12-person committee, but the prospects are grim and the senators appear defeated.

A paper statement will be released late Monday, likely after the markets close, by co-chairs Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-TX., announcing the committee is over.

“It’s disappointing,” Kyl said during an interview with CNN.  Earlier this year, Kyl announced his retirement; Monday morning he said the result of the supercommittee is one of the biggest disappointments of his career.

“This was Congress’ responsibility,” Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., a member of the supercommittee said on CNN on Monday. “Frankly the only reason we don’t have an agreement is not because we weren’t willing to make reductions to Medicare, health care, do things we needed to do to make the system stronger, to protect it going forward. The reason is we are stuck on this insistence of making the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy permanent. I think the American people will judge that to be insane.”

“Our democratic friends had a different idea,” Kyl said on CNBC. “Their ideas was this the opportunity to raise taxes. And it didn’t matter what we proposed.”

Kyl said that Republicans believe there were “several incentives” for Democrats not to agree to a deal.

“They get to cut their favorite program, namely our national defense through the sequester program, namely our national defense though the sequester process,” Kyl said. “The president gets to keep his message that there is a dysfunctional congress and therefore he has somebody to blame for the bad economy.”

This criticism is also coming from outside of Capitol Hill. Some conservatives, like broadcaster Rush Limbaugh, called the entire supercommittee a farce, and claimed Democrats deliberately prevented the group from reaching an agreement so President Obama could blame the Republicans and a "do-nothing Congress" for the country's economic woes while stumping for reelection.

Talk of overturning the sequester -- the trigger of automatic across-the-board cuts – has already started.

“There will be opportunities to amend the effects of this across-the-board sequestration, on the defense side,” Kyl said on CNBC. “There will be efforts to find offsets or other ways to reduce spending so that those cuts in defense spending don’t occur.”

Last week, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the proposed cuts would be "devastating" to the U.S. military.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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