Following the fourth public meeting/hearing this week, there appears little progress by the special bipartisan, bicameral Super Committee.
The committee has held more than a dozen closed-door meetings since August, which is when the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction was tasked with identifying recommendations on reaching at least $1.2 trillion in reducing the deficit over 10 years.
This week, the Super Committee heard testimony from co-chairs of two groups—the Bowles-Simpson Bipartisan Presidential Committee and the Rivlin-Domenici Independent Group—that developed deficit reduction recommendations last year.
Last week, the Super Committee met privately with members of last winter’s “Gang of Six” regarding their recommendations.Super Committee Democrats and Republicans also presented proposals, calling for bigger reductions ranging from $3–$4 trillion over 10 years that immediately ignited opposition across party lines, within each party proposing its plan, and from advocates across the nation.
Although no details are available regarding either plan, it is reported that Democrats proposed $75 million in Medicaid and $400 million in Medicare cuts, while Republicans proposed $185 million in Medicaid cuts and $500 million in Medicare cuts.
Republicans are objecting to the level of Democratic tax and revenue increases ($1.3 trillion), and Democrats are objecting to the size of Republican entitlement cuts without sufficient tax increases ($40 billion).
The Super Committee is required to submit its recommendations to Congress by November 3, with an up-or-down Congressional vote required by December 23. If no agreement is reached, automatic across-the-board cuts in federal spending would begin in 2013—with Medicaid, Social Security, and most of Medicare federal spending exempted from these cuts.