The proverbial can may be subjected to further kicking, as the budget deficit super committee's progress indicates a willingness to put off tough choices on tax increases.
According to various reports, members of the super committee are mulling a broad outline of objectives for revenue increases, with the Senate Finance and House Appropriations committees to iron out how those goals will be met next year.
The super committee, also known as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, has until Nov. 23 to unveil a proposal for eliminating at least $1.2 trillion from the budget deficit over the next decade. But to date, a series of proposals from the group 12 lawmakers, split evenly among Democrats and Republicans, have been shot down along party lines, with the subject of tax revenue increases providing the dividing line.
Hensarling Is Optimistic
Republican leader of the super committee, U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, on Sunday expressed optimism for the prospects for a deal.
Listen, it's been a roller-coaster ride, he said. We haven't given up hope. But if this was easy, the president of the United States and the speaker of the House would have gotten it done themselves in talks during this summer's debt-limit showdown.
The news comes after President Barack Obama chastised the group of lawmakers on Sunday, telling them to bite the bullet and iron out a deal.
It feels as if people continue to try to stick with their rigid positions rather than solve the problem, Obama said. My hope is that over the next several days the congressional leadership on the super committee will go ahead and bite the bullet and do what needs to be done.
The committee's lack of substantive progress has left many aides and lawmakers skeptical about the group's ability to reach any sort of deal, according to The New York Times.
Trigger Cuts Loom Over Committee
Should the Nov. 23 come without a deal, a series of trigger cuts would slash military and social safety net programs by $1.2 trillion over the coming decade.
More recent efforts by both parties have put revenue increases on the table, though Democrats have disputed the characterization of Republicans' willingness to increase tax receipts as progress. Meanwhile, their own proposal, a mix of tax increases and cuts, did not have much traction either.
The super committee was meant to cap a year-long debate over deficit spending. The prospect of pushing the tax issue to next year has been welcomed by Senate Finance Committee chair Max Baucus, D-Mont., and House Appropriations Committee Chair Dave Camp, R-Mich.