Supercommittee Slow to Rev Up on Deficit

Friday, 19 Aug 2011 01:36 PM

By Newsmax Wires

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The 12-member bipartisan supercommittee charged with proposing $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction by Nov. 23 isn’t so super yet. With committee members sprawled across the country initiating their 2012 election campaigns and the committee itself still in the process of hiring staff, progress is slow, Politico reports.


“People need to understand that getting a committee going from zero to working in a productive way is not something that can happen overnight,” one aide involved with the process, told the news service. Many in Washington are skeptical the supercommittee, which is highly unlikely to meet before Labor Day, will be able to achieve much.


But some members certainly want to give it the old college try.


An aide to Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, told Politico the senator “is pretty antsy to get back here and get back to work. He would prefer meeting sooner rather than later.” Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said, “Let’s put it this way: I’m ready to get to work today.”


Meanwhile, Republican supercommittee member Fred Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, vowed the panel won’t go after Social Security and Medicare benefits for those who already are receiving them, The Hill reports. It's "critical" that people now in these programs "not see benefit reductions" he said at a town hall meeting in his district.


"It’s awfully hard to tell someone . . . who might be 82, that they’ve gotta go back to work, because their benefits are gonna be chopped," Upton said. "That’s not gonna happen."


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