Congressional Super Committee Fails to Reach Agreement
(With additional reporting from Illinois Public Radio)
Congressional leaders of the deficit super committee says they have failed to hammer out an agreement that would reduce the deficit by more than a trillion dollars over the next decade.
Failure to do so would trigger $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts -- starting in 2013 - over the next decade. Speaking before the announcement that committee failed to achieve its task, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said that should the committee fail to act, it would confirm Congress's inability to solve the nation's big problems.
"If the super committee fails, it will just confirm the suspicions that most people have had, that congress is incapable of taking on big issues and coming to any positive resolution," said Durbin. "It's happened too many times, over and over again. Threats of shutting down the government. Threats of even shutting down the economy in the course of this year. So this is further disappointment, and it won't help the image of Congress."
The super committee was created with 12 members of congress - six Democrats and six Republicans. Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson (R-Urbana) said the idea behind the panel was a bad one from the start.
"I think it was doomed from the beginning," Johnson said. "You appoint 12 people who are intentionally partisan and expect to come up with a bipartisan solution. That's unrealistic. I would have liked to have seen a more fair, transparent, and open process, but that didn't happen."
The committee has been divided from the beginning over taxes and cuts to popular government benefit programs like Medicare. It has until Wednesday to vote on a plan.