Sen. John Kerry said this morning he still has some hope that an eleventh hour agreement can be reached by the deficit-reduction supercommittee, but “it depends entirely on the willingness to compromise” by Republicans.
Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” the Massachusetts Democrat blamed the GOP for the apparent failure of the 12-member, bipartisan panel to fulfill its charge of producing a plan to reduce federal spending by at least $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years.
Kerry said the refusal of Republicans to give any ground on tax increases for the nation’s wealthiest to help offset spending cuts has been the holdup in making any kind of progress.
“If they’d just lay that aside we could have an agreement today,” he said.
Kerry said the Democrats on the panel, along with President Barack Obama, have been the only ones to offer a plan that included cuts to Medicare and other so-called “sacred-cow” programs.
“We put a reasonable amount . . . with painful cuts on the table,” Kerry said.
He added he believes Republicans are willing to do nothing to help resolve the nation’s economic problems until after the 2012 elections in hopes of winning the presidency and a majority of seats in both chambers of Congress.
The attitude is, “if we just wait until 2012 . . . we can get it all,” Kerry continued.
Kerry said if the supercommittee fails to reach a compromise by Thanksgiving Day, then various plans will likely be offered in Congress in an effort to avoid 1.2 trillion in automatic cuts in defense spending and other programs that are to be triggered if no agreement is reached.
The ensuing fight between Democrats and Republicans over those plans, he said, “will define” the 2012 election.
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