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The Congressional "supercommittee" charged with crafting a $1.2 trillion debt reduction plan, headed by Washington State Sen. Patty Murray, seems headed for failure, thanks to the bipartisan group's inability to bridge party lines and come up the so-called "great compromise"---a mix of taxes and spending cuts that would allow both parties to declare victory and avoid a "trigger" that would lead to massive across-the-board spending cuts, mostly to defense (the stick for Republicans), and a 2 percent cut to Medicare and other domestic programs (the stick for Democrats).

Republicans have resolutely refused to consider any new taxes as part of the deal, and are even trying to use the supercommittee to extend the Bush tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 a year---a proposal that would add another $3.7 trillion to the deficit.

More recently, Republican committee members threatened to renege on their portion of the trigger compromise and take defense spending cuts off the table, substituting cuts to domestic programs. Republicans are now demanding President Obama intervene in the process, saying only he can break the logjam by persuading Democrats to make additional cuts to domestic and entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Aides to Obama, who is out of the country, have responded that the President is not a member of Congress, which is responsible for coming up with the $1.2 trillion solution.

According to the Daily Beast, the most likely outcome now looks like "partial sequestration." In that scenario, supercommittee members would come up with several hundred million in cuts --- perhaps half a billion---and "sequester" the remainder of the $1.2 trillion in the hopes of coming up with a solution later. That, of course, would only kick the can down the road, but it would allow supercommittee members to declare a partial victory, if only a temporary one.
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