WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Super Committee Still Facing Partisan Differences

Play associated audio
The super committee has until Wednesday to reach a deal.
Matt Laslo
The super committee has until Wednesday to reach a deal.

Things aren't looking good for the congressional super committee tasked with cutting more than $1 trillion from the nation's debt.

Some super committee members took to the Sunday morning talk shows, and both sides leveled blame for the current impasse on their political opponents. Republicans say Democrats want to hike taxes to trim the debt, while Democrats say the GOP never negotiated seriously because its members insisted on extending tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) is on the panel and says there's no way his party will cave on the tax issue.

"Democrats are unified, there's no question there," says Van Hollen.

The committee has until Wednesday to reach a deal, but with that deadline drawing near, it appears the panel has failed. If the 12 members can't agree to $1.2 trillion dollars in budget cuts, that same amount will automatically get slashed from the budget in a process called sequestration.

Half of those cuts are supposed to fall on the Pentagon, and the other half on budget items such as education and health care. Some lawmakers have openly discussed undoing those triggered cuts in order to protect their own favored spending priorities. But Van Hollen says that's not a serious option.

"People who are talking about undoing the sequester are not serious about deficit reduction, because if you undo the sequester, you will immediately increase the deficit of the United States by $1.2 trillion," he says. "I'm sure the markets would not respond well to that."

Rating agency S&P already downgraded the U.S. credit rating this year, and analysts say a further downgrade could occur because of the partisan paralysis occurring on Capitol Hill.

Party leaders created the special panel, and many observers say if it fails they are to blame for pulling the strings in secret. But Republicans say it's a failure of leadership from President Obama. Van Hollen says those GOP critics are wrong. 

“I think if the president got involved we’d be hearing some of our colleagues on the other side saying he was interfering in the process.” 

NPR

Loneliness And Longing — And Woody Allen — In 'Fading Gigolo'

Bob Mondello reviews the new Fading Gigolo, a surprisingly sweet dramedy in which John Turturro plays the gigolo, Woody Allen plays his pimp, and things don't go nearly as wrong as they could.
NPR

Like Ham? There's A Festival For That In French Basque Country

The port town of Bayonne in France's Basque region is known for its colorful food and culture. And since 1464, its residents have celebrated the remarkable, local cured ham at the springtime Ham Fair.
NPR

In Virginia, Politicians Fish For Support At Old-Fashioned Event

Even as technology and social media transform politics, some traditions still live on — like the annual Shad Planking festival in Wakefield. It's a must-attend event on Virginia's political calendar.
NPR

Should College Dropouts Be Honored By Their Alma Maters?

From a Top Gun sequel starring drones to Howard University's pick of Puff Daddy as its commencement speaker, the Barbershop guys weigh in on the week's news.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.