Supercommittee’s Lack of Progress on Debt Reduction Raises Alarms on Hill
October 19, 2011
With a Thanksgiving deadline fast approaching, a powerful congressional panel devoted to debt reduction is running in rhetorical circles, unable to break the impasse over taxes that has long blocked aggressive action to tame the national debt.
Though the committee's 12 members have been meeting for nearly two months in closed-door sessions, lawmakers, aides and others involved in the process say they have yet to reach consensus on the most basic elements of a plan to restrain government borrowing.
There is no agreement on the scope of their ambitions: Should they aim to meet a savings target of at least $1.2 trillion over the next decade or "go big" with savings of $4 trillion or more? Nor is there agreement on a benchmark against which to measure those savings. And while individual ideas for savings abound, the committee has yet to assemble a comprehensive framework that would demonstrate its ability to produce a plan of any size before the Nov. 23 deadline.