WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 – The wheels that have been slowly driving the super committee “bus” toward a Nov. 23 deadline appeared to be falling off over the weekend. Several members of the bi-partisan Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction appeared on Sunday talk shows to say that, while they intended to keep working toward a Monday night deadline, Democrats and Republicans were still far apart on key issues.
Various packages have been advanced, but partisan bickering over the level of spending cuts and tax increases continues to stand in the way of reaching any compromise.
Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, Sen Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., blamed Democrats for their unwillingness to seriously address entitlement reforms.
“They weren’t going to do anything without raising taxes,” Kyl said. “If you look at the Democrats' position, it was, "We have to raise taxes, we have to pass this jobs bill," which is another almost half a trillion dollars, "and we're not excited about entitlement reform."
But Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who appeared after Kyl, said that Democrats put “everything on the table.”
“We Democrats put a $4 trillion deal on the table, and it included huge, hard, though, horrible reductions on the sacred cows and things that we have been accused of not being willing to do,” Kerry said. “But they wouldn’t accept it. They wouldn’t accept a $1.3 trillion cut, $1.3 trillion revenue.”
Any deal would need to be reached by Monday night if the committee is going to approve it by Wednesday’s deadline. Failure to reach an agreement will trigger $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts over 10 years to military and domestic programs, including farm bill spending, in fiscal 2013.
As we reported Friday, the chairmen of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees were prepared to offer a legislative package to the super committee that included $23 billion in net spending cuts out of programs under their jurisdiction. Agri-Pulse received a draft outline of that plan, which was produced by Sen. Stabenow’s staff, and was still being modified as of Friday.
If the Super Committee fails, sources expect the Agriculture Committee leaders to use several of the proposals in that package as a starting point for farm bill deliberations next year.
Most lawmakers are in their respective states and districts for the Thanksgiving holiday. For other events and meetings this week:
Monday, November 21
Deputy Secretary Merrigan will speak at the National Archives and Records Administration’s Sustainable Agriculture Panel in Washington, DC.
Tuesday, November 22
Wednesday, November 23
Thursday, November 24
Friday, November 25
For more Agri-Pulse news, go to http://www.agri-pulse.com/