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Super Committee Courts Compromise

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Members of the super committee charged with cutting more than $1 trillion from the nation's debt have just over a week to complete their work.
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Members of the super committee charged with cutting more than $1 trillion from the nation's debt have just over a week to complete their work.

The region’s lawmakers are anticipating recommendations from the joint congressional committee charged with cutting more than $1 trillion from the debt, but the days are numbered for that committee to reach a deal.

The two sides of the so-called "super committee" have been exchanging a flurry of proposals lately. Some Republican members have entertained around $300 billion in additional revenues, and Democrats put entitlement cuts on the table. But both sides say their political opponents need to go further, which Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) says is probably true.  

“I think anything that keeps these folks talking is a step in the right direction," Warner says. "But I don’t see there being a deal unless it’s going to be fair and balanced.” 

On Fox News Sunday, super committee member Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said negotiations are at a difficult point. Last week, he floated the proposal to raise over $300 million in revenues. 

The clock is winding down quickly though. Seven of the committee's 12 members need to agree on a proposal by next Wednesday. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), who is advocating for the committee to cut around $3 trillion from the deficit, says the panel may have to kick the can a tad and send an outline of spending cuts to traditional congressional committees who can then write the details into law. 

"I think that's the most likely scenario," he says. "Knowing that it doesn't look like they have the details now, so I think that would probably be the best outcome."

That phased plan could be useful to get to that higher $3 trillion mark, he adds. 

"I think the best opportunity for that would probably be a staged approach," he says. "Try to get something done immediate and then send the committee some additional work." 

If the super committee fails, analysts say the Washington region could be hit hard as more than $1 trillion would be indiscriminately cut from the Pentagon and programs such as education and health care. The committee only has until Nov. 23 to reach a deal. 

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