Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction admits failure
CLARIFICATION, Weds. Nov. 28:
The original article read: “James Gleeson, communications staff to Xavier Becetta (sic), Calif. representative and member of the committee, would not give a statement on the record.” Gleeson did not refuse to make a comment, but rather referred the reporter to Becerra’s official statement.
The article has been updated to include Becerra’s statement.
The group assigned to find ways to reduce the nation’s deficit over the next decade failed to find $1.2 trillion in savings.
The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction had been at a standstill since they began discussions in August.
“After months of hard work and intense deliberations, we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee’s deadline,” co-chairs Representative Jeb Hensarling and Sen. Patty Murray said in a statement Monday.
Democrats on the board proposed a $1 trillion tax increase and raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67, trying to protect social programs, while Republicans were resistant to tax increases.
“It’s not enough for either side to simply say they want to reduce the deficit—now is the time when everyone needs to be putting some real skin in the game and offering serious compromises,” Sen. Patty Murray said in a Nov. 1 hearing.
The bipartisan committee was comprised of six Democrats as well as six Republicans, evenly divided between the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The organization was created by the Budget Control Act of 2011 to allow the government to raise the federal debt ceiling.
“I would raise taxes and focus on the spending side to control spending and entitlement programs,” economics professor Robert Krol said in regards to what he would choose to do in terms of savings.
Democrats seem to be putting more weight on taxes while the Republicans are putting focus on spending cuts, he said.
Now that the committee failed to compromise, a set of automatic cuts will go into effect in 2013, including domestic spending, such as Medicaid and Social Security and military spending.
“The problem with automatic cuts is that it’s avoiding the problem of prioritizing,” Krol said.
California Representative Xavier Becerra, vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus and member of the committee, released a statement Monday which noted the forward was clear.
“The elements of a balanced plan for job creation and deficit reduction were in front of us. Unfortunately, the Joint Select Committee has missed a huge opportunity,” Becerra said in the statement. “This is not the outcome I had hoped for. The American people deserve a better deal than the looming automatic cuts to important federal services.”