Last summer, during the debt ceiling standoff, Congressional Republicans and Democrats came to a dubious—no, wait: stupid—deal to set up a bipartisan “supercommittee” to negotiate $1.2 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade.
The committee comprised three Republicans and three Democrats from the House, and three each from the Senate. The committee would make spending cut recommendations by November 23, and Congress would vote on them by December 24. If the committee failed to agree to cuts that can pass in Congress, automatic cuts of $450 billion from defense spending, $450 billion from domestic programs, and $300 billion from reduced interest payments would kick in on January 1, 2013.
What could possibly go wrong?
For starters, there are six Democrats on the panel and only six Republicans. Since spending bills originate in the House, which Republicans control, why is this a 50-50 proposition? Would gloating Democrats have been so sporting if this process had unfolded in 2007 or 2009?
The Republicans on the committee aren’t nearly as conservative as the Democrats are liberal. Only one Republican could be called a consistent, genuine fiscal conservative: newly elected Senator, Club for Growth President, and godsend Pat Toomey. Republican committee chair Rep. Jeb Hensarling, Sen. Jon Kyl, and Reps. Rob Portman, Dave Camp, and Fred Upton, whatever their virtues, all voted to increase the debt ceiling in August, and thus cannot be trusted. read more »