The bipartisan supercommittee on deficit reduction is approaching its Nov. 23 deadline to come up with recommendations for $1.25 trillion in deficit cuts over the next 10 years. And the committee’s 12 members will take it on the chin if it doesn’t meet that goal, The Hill
Voters would focus their anger first on President Barack Obama and congressional leaders, but then they would express their ire toward the committee’s members.
“All of them collectively will bear the success or failure,” former Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., told The Hill. “I suspect there’s a lot pressure on members of this supercommittee.” Meeting the $1.25 trillion target would constitute “a small signal for success,” he said.
“The consequences for failure are very significant. If it’s failure, it exacerbates the feelings people have about the country and Congress not being able to right the ship.”
In the end, the country will suffer if nothing gets done, Rep. Steven LaTourette, R-Ohio, told The Hill. “I’m sure they’re all trying their hardest, but the risks to the country are pretty significant if they don’t produce something . . . It will be seen as a sign we can’t get anything done.”
But depending on how a deal was structured, some supercommittee members could suffer from success too. Senate freshmen such as Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and ambitious House Democrats such as Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Xavier Becerra of California may turn off some members of their own party’s base and damage their chances for future leadership roles.
“There are worse things than no deal,” Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a liberal Democrat who served on the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission and who has warned against slashing entitlement benefits, told The Hill. “A bad deal is worse than no deal.”
But former Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., recently had harsh words for extremists who are unwilling to give and take. “If you can’t compromise on anything, go home,” he told NPR. “If you can’t learn to compromise on an issue without compromising yourself, then you shouldn’t be a legislator.”
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