If There’s No Deficit Reduction Deal, What Happens Next?
Both parties are jockeying for position, trying to spin the super committee's expected announcement of failure into political victory. Meanwhile, some news outlets are examining what happens next for the automatic cuts, which will be triggered in 2013 if the deficit panel indeed does not offer a plan.
Politico: Parties Brace For 'Super' Fallout
Now, both parties are quickly trying to figure out how to turn the committee's embarrassing failure into a political win for their side. The Democratic message: We stood up to Republicans looking to gut Social Security, slash Medicare and permanently extend the Bush-era tax cuts for high income Americans. The Republican counterattack: Democrats wanted little more than tax increases and refused to consider changes to deficit-driving health care entitlements. Both sides are positioning themselves as the party that compromised and sought a middle-ground (Raju and Sherman, 11/21).
ABC News: Grandma, Grandpa Spared From Bulk of Automatic Super Committee Cuts
Both Medicaid and Social Security are spared from the funding reductions and Medicare cuts are limited to 2 percent of the entitlement program's budget. ... Under the automatic cuts, or sequestration, Medicare will lose about $123 billion between 2013 and 2021. But that entire amount will come out of the pockets of doctors and hospitals, not grandma and grandpa. ... That doesn't mean the many-billion-dollar cuts will be painless. (Michael) Tanner said that slashing the amount the federal government reimburses health care providers who care for Medicare enrollees could make it more difficult for senior citizens to find doctors that will care for them (Bingham, 11/21).
Kaiser Health News: Health Leaders Prepare For Round Two Of Cuts
Regardless of whether Congress' super committee meets its deadline for finding ways to reduce the federal deficit, budget and policy experts are braced for Washington soon to face the painful task of finding more savings — and they anticipate that health spending will be at the top of the list (Serafini and Carey, 11/20).
The Hill Poll Finds Stronger Support For Medicare Cuts Among Young People, Minorities
Young people and minorities are most likely to support "major" cuts to Medicare and Social Security, according to a new McClatchy-Marist Institute for Public Opinion poll. The surprising endorsement of entitlement cuts among key Democratic constituencies could be bad news for congressional Democrats who have traditionally championed the programs. The two entitlements remain off-limits for a vast majority of Democratic voters: Only 12 percent support the cuts, versus 17 percent among all registered voters. The survey of 1,026 adults found that more than four out of five Americans say the deficit-cutting super committee should avoid "major" cuts to the two entitlement programs as part of its mission to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion. The poll doesn't define the term "major" (Pecquet, 11/18).
The Associated Press: Congress May Try Blocking Cuts If Debt Panel Fails
Failure by Congress' debt-cutting super committee to recommend $1.2 trillion in savings by Wednesday is supposed to automatically trigger spending cuts in the same amount to accomplish that job. But the same legislators who concocted that budgetary booby trap just four months ago could end up spending the 2012 election year and beyond battling over defusing it (Fram, 11/21).
The Associated Press: Deficit Deal Failure Would Pose Crummy Choice
If the deficit-cutting super committee fails, Congress will face a crummy choice. Lawmakers can allow payroll tax cuts and jobless aid for millions to expire or they extend them and increase the nation's $15 trillion debt by at least $160 billion. ... Also caught up in what promises to be a chaotic legislative dash for the exits next month is the need to pass legislation to prevent an almost 30 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors (Taylor, 11/19).