Lawmakers on a 12-member Congressional super committee said they are making progress on measures to reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion, a goal mandated as part of the compromise to raise the debt ceiling.
While the committee has not yet convened an official meeting -- Congress is currently on recess -- Co-chairs Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, released a statement maintaining that they have nevertheless begun serious discussion.
We are confident that most Americans will agree that when building an organization from the ground-up with a short timetable for success, it's important to get it right the first time, Murray and Hensarling said in the statement.
Under the structure of the debt deal, the supercommittee has until Thanksgiving to cut $1.5 trillion out of the deficit. If they fail to reach a deal, or if Congress rejects their proposal on an up or down vote, deep cuts to domestic and defense spending will kick in.
The automatically triggered cuts were intended to prevent the type of bitter partisan impasse that held up a vote to raise the debt ceiling, but the super committee will likely see its share of sparring. The two parties remain divided over the role of tax revenue: Democrats are adamant that a deal must include new revenue, while Republicans are under intense pressure to reject any increase in taxes.