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The August deal to raise the debt ceiling created the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, also known as the super committee. The 12-member panel evenly split between the parties as well as the House and Senate has been tasked with producing a legislative package that reduces the deficit by $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion over 10 years by Nov. 23. Both chambers would then have to vote on the package by Dec. 23, with no amendments allowed and a simple majority needed for passage. If the panel fails to produce a package or if a deficit reduction bill is not enacted $1.2 trillion in discretionary spending cuts will be triggered starting in January 2013.
At the request of House and Senate leaders, President Barack Obama today delayed an official appeal to raise the debt ceiling by $1.2 trillion to make time for Congress to return from recess.
After days of acrimonious back and forth on how to wrap their year-end work, the two Senate leaders expressed optimism today at being able to finish both a year-end appropriations bill and an extension of the payroll tax cut in the next few days.
Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday he remains committed to a "grand bargain" to cut the deficit while reforming entitlements and taxes despite growing GOP unhappiness with his longtime push to cut a deal with President Barack Obama.
Todays balanced budget amendment votes in the Senate will fulfill the letter of the law but will do little beyond putting a coda on Congress failure to reach a bipartisan deficit reduction deal this year.
Using familiar messaging on Rep. Paul Ryans (R-Wis.) budget plan, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee begins a barrage of automated calls today, targeting 30 districts of GOP House Members the party sees as vulnerable.
With the super committee's failure last week, industrious lawmakers are grasping yet again at the opportunity to reach a sweeping deficit reduction deal but they face the same obstacles that have crushed every group that's tried.
With wreckage of the super committee squarely in their rearview mirror, lawmakers returning to the House on Monday will face a packed agenda with little time to get everything done.
Lobbyists of all stripes are preparing campaigns to save their industries from sequestration, and the K Street allies of the Badlands and the Statue of Liberty are no exception.
With the super committee deliberations behind them, Republicans have little incentive to change course and accept tax increases before the November elections, Grover Norquist, the outspoken anti-tax lobbyist, told Roll Call on Tuesday.
The failure of the deficit super committee could open a new front in the 2012 presidential contest, with the Republican nominee likely to campaign on reversing steep defense cuts scheduled to occur in 2013 as a result of a penalty trigger.
The legislative mechanism that will force automatic cuts in defense and domestic programs now that the deficit panel did not fulfill its mission has gone from being a sword hanging over lawmakers to a silver lining rewarding them for inaction.
More than three months of negotiations ended in futility today as the co-chairmen of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction declared in one statement what many in Washington had always assumed: The super committee could not reach agreement.
President Barack Obama threatened today to veto any bills that roll back $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts scheduled for 2013 unless Congress agrees to an equivalent, balanced deficit reduction package.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wasted no time today in ramping up the partisan rhetoric over the failure of bipartisan deficit reduction talks, moving quickly to blame each other for the collapse.
The super committee has officially failed. In a joint news release, Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction Co-Chairmen Sen. Patty Murray and Jeb Hensarling said they concluded today that they will not be able to make any bipartisan agreement public before the deadline.
As both parties prepare to blame each other for the super committees likely failure, House and Senate leaders face the stark reality that they now have to take swift action to rescue key programs they were expecting the panel to extend.
The co-chairmen of a bipartisan deficit committee refused to say that they had failed to come to an agreement in interviews today, but neither indicated how a deal might happen before the Wednesday deadline.
The super committee appeared destined to fail today, as the trickle of tourists milling about the Capitol outnumbered the panel's members and staffers while leaders of both parties were poised to disengage entirely from last-minute talks.
Bipartisan deficit reduction talks remained stalled this afternoon after an early morning round of conference calls failed to produce a breakthrough.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), a key member of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, said today that the group still has a "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity to approve a plan, despite the impasse between Democrats and Republicans threatening to deadlock the group before its final Wednesday deadline.
The Club for Growth, which is best known for influencing elections, is putting politicking on the backseat these days with a more recent focus on influencing the policy debate.
Congress is out but the super committee is still in for the next few days, at least.
With one weekend left for the super committee to strike a deal, the embattled panel members appear as far apart as ever, with no late-night Capitol meetings planned for tonight and Democrats not even scheduled to gather in person on Saturday.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling today said all 12 Democratic and Republican negotiators on the super committee would huddle for the second straight day in an effort to jump-start stalled deficit reduction talks.
For the still-divided super committee, three-and-a-half months of work have boiled down to three days: The panel likely needs to submit a package to Congress budget scorekeeper by Monday to hold its Wednesday final vote.