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Lack of Urgency Blocking Supercommittee

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  • November 20, 2011
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Apparently the stakes aren’t high enough for the congressional debt supercommittee. The reason why the panel appears unlikely to reach a deficit reduction deal is the lack of urgency, according to a story in Friday’s Washington Post.

Unlike the previous crises Congress faced earlier this year — funding the government for the remainder of fiscal 2011 and averting a default on the nation’s debt — missing this week’s deadline will not cause an immediate calamity. Government-wide spending cuts of up to $1.2 trillion would not kick in until January 2013, and as a result, many lawmakers believe they’ll have another year to undo the automatic cuts.

It’s not at all clear that a Republican-led effort to reverse the resulting $54 billion reduction in defense spending would be successful, though.

Many lawmakers believe a bipartisan deficit reduction agreement will not occur until after the November 2012 elections. At that time, Congress will contend with the prospect of deep cuts to the Pentagon and other agencies, along with the expiration of the George W. Bush-era tax cuts, according to the story.

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