Saturday, November 19, 2011

Supercommittee Moving Further Apart as Talks Enter Homestretch

Lawmakers on the congressional supercommittee made no visible progress ahead of a Nov. 23 deadline for a debt-reduction deal even as negotiators picked up the pace of bipartisan talks aimed at an agreement.
Republicans and Democrats offered a series of competing plans in the past week as they seek at least $1.2 trillion in deficit savings over the next decade, all of them rejected by the opposite side as negotiators offered little sign of progress or optimism.
The 12-member supercommittee, created in the aftermath of a rancorous debate over raising the nation’s debt ceiling in August, is struggling to find deficit reductions while Republicans reject Democrats’ demands for tax increases and Democrats oppose Republican efforts to make changes in entitlement programs such as Medicare.
“It looks like a standoff,” said former Democratic U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan, who is now a lobbyist. “Nobody’s ever created a supercommittee where you have 523 members of Congress that are not involved and 12 who are working largely in secret,” he said. “It was generally a bad idea from the start.”


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