Congress’ new super committee may not be so super after all. The 12-member group whose task it is to propose $1.5 trillion in budget deficit reduction by Nov. 23 runs the risk of creating conflicts with the heads of the congressional committees that would have to implement the recommended spending cuts, Politico reports.
The regular committee leaders can be expected to guard some of their favored projects zealously. For example, the House and Senate Agriculture committees won’t cut programs from the farm bill easily. Transportation and infrastructure-related committees will do their utmost to defend the multibillion-dollar highway trust fund that's up for reauthorization soon. And members of Congress with power over authorizing defense spending won’t simply roll over to slash it.
"You've got to believe that every major committee is nervous that its core work is just going to be snatched away from it if they manage to reach some sort of grand deal," Norm Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told Politico. "That's probably true of even Finance and Ways and Means, even though their chairs are on the committee. They may be consulted, but they're not going to be able to shape things the way they normally shape things."
If Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich had his way, there would be no super committee. In a speech at the Heritage Foundation Tuesday, the former House speaker expressed his support for the “Lean Six Sigma” cost cutting strategy first drawn up at Motorola in the 1970s and later championed by Texas businessman Mike George. Gingrich was the first to sign George's pledge to adopt Lean Six Sigma if elected president, The Huffington Post reports.
“An intelligent Congress in a city that wanted to be intelligent would hold hearings, bring in the experts, figure out how to fundamentally change the government,” Gingrich said in his speech.
"This super committee will become an excuse to do nothing. The Washington press corps will focus all of its attention on the super committee, and the lobbyists will focus of all their attention on the super committee. It's truly a bad idea."
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