Deficit reduction super committee super-fails

C.J. Ciaramella Contributor
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The so-called “super committee” is officially a super failure.

The 12-member Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, tasked with finding $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions over the next decade from the federal budget, announced Monday that had failed to reach a bipartisan agreement by its Nov. 23 deadline.

In a joint statement, super committee co-chairs Rep. Jeb Hensarling and Sen. Patty Murray said they were “deeply disappointed” in their abject failure but remained hopeful that 535 self-interested politicians can accomplish what 12 could not.

“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,” the co-chairs said.

“Despite our inability to bridge the committee’s significant differences, we end this process united in our belief that the nation’s fiscal crisis must be addressed and that we cannot leave it for the next generation to solve,” they continued. “We remain hopeful that Congress can build on this committee’s work and can find a way to tackle this issue in a way that works for the American people and our economy.”

The failure of the super committee will trigger $1.2 million in automatic spending cuts, although Congress has the option to negate those. (AP Analysis: What next? Lawmakers look to undo the back-up plan)

The super committee was widely expected to fail after negotiations broke down between Democrats and Republicans. Republicans accused Democrats of failing to meaningfully address entitlement reform, while Democrats said the GOP refused to accept any significant revenue increases. (RELATED: Obama promises to veto changes to automatic spending cuts, urges tax increases)

The finger-pointing continued apace while the corpse of the super committee was still warm. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell released a statement dinging Democrats and the president.

“For those of us who hoped that this committee could make some of the tough decisions President Obama continues to avoid, the Democrats’ rejection of not one but two good-faith Republican proposals is deeply disappointing,” McConnell said. “The good news is that even without an agreement, $1.2 trillion will still be cut from the deficit. Now it falls on the President to ensure that the defense cuts he insisted upon do not undermine national security, as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has warned.”

House Speaker John Boehner struck a more optimistic tone.

“While I am disappointed, the House will forge ahead with the commitments we have made to reducing government spending and removing barriers standing in the way of private-sector job creation,” Boehner said in a statement. “Doing otherwise is not an option. This process did not end in the desired outcome, but it did bring our enormous fiscal challenges into greater focus. I am confident the work done by this committee will play a role in the solution we must eventually find as a nation.”

Meanwhile, Democrats continued to criticize Republicans for rejecting tax increases as part of a deal.

“By rejecting a balanced approach, GOPers chose to keep their pledge to Grover Norquist to protect the wealthiest 1 percent at all costs,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

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