Super Committee’s Muscle Draws Interest, Questions
Some lawmakers are questioning the powerful panel's ability to recommend changes to entitlement programs and the tax code. This group must present a deficit-reduction package to Congress by Nov. 23. Failure to do so would lead to across-the-board cuts to high-priority programs such as defense spending and Medicare.
Politico: Lawmakers Eye Super Committee
Publicly, most lawmakers say they have no desire to be named to the so-called super committee tasked with finding an additional $1.5 trillion in cuts to the deficit by Thanksgiving. But behind the scenes, some are already beginning to jockey for seats on the 12-member bipartisan panel, which many see as a historic opportunity to overhaul the Tax Code and entitlements. But if the committee fails to present a deficit-reduction package by Nov. 23, the day before Thanksgiving, or if Congress deadlocks and fails to pass the plan or enacts less than $1.2 trillion in cuts by Dec. 23, across-the-board spending cuts would be triggered to make up the difference between the committee number and the $1.2 trillion savings goal. Those automatic cuts would largely affect defense spending, a top priority for Republicans, and Medicare, a favorite program of Democrats, creating a strong incentive for both parties to reach a deal and pass the bill (Wong and Haberkorn, 8/1).
The New York Times: Lawmakers In Both Parties Fear That New Budget Panel Will Erode Authority
Lawmakers from both parties expressed scorn on Monday for a central feature of the deficit-reduction deal that creates a powerful 12-member committee of Congress to recommend major changes in entitlement programs and the tax code. The stated goal of the new joint committee - composed of equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans from the House and the Senate - is to reduce federal budget deficits by a total of at least $1.5 trillion over 10 years. If Congress does not promptly enact its recommendations, the government would automatically cut spending across the board in hundreds of military and nonmilitary programs, including Medicare (Pear and Rampell, 8/1).