Deadline looms for Super Committee action on federal deficit, budget (with video)

The Takeaway

Story from The Takeaway. Listen to the above audio for a complete report.

In just over a week, the Congressional Super Committee must come up with $1.2 trillion in budget cuts and new revenue, or else…

Or else there will be $1.2 trillion in cuts to domestic programs, like Medicare, and in the defense budget. No one in Congress wants that — well, almost no one — and yet there’s no sign that the group is close to a deal.

“There are even signs the committee is working on plans to kick the can to other committees in Congress,” said Todd Zwillich, The Takeaway’s Washington correspondent.

The committee is close-lipped, but there have been some signs they’ll come up with a number for cuts and revenue, and then assign specific committees the work of meeting those numbers. Unfortunately, those proposals won’t necessarily have the up or down vote mechanism of the super committee proposal.

The committee is tied up on a recurring theme.

“The balance between big cuts in Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid, and taxes. Taxes is the big one,” Zwillich said.

Democrats in particular want a balanced approach between spending cuts, specifically in entitlement programs, and new revenue. Many Republicans are opposed to anything that increases taxes.

Adding a complication, there’s a move afoot in Congress to try and undo the enforcement provision of the law establishing the super committee. If that were to happen — though there’s no indication the president would sign such legislation — it’s unknown what actions the markets or the debt rating agencies might take.


“The Takeaway” is a national morning news program, delivering the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what’s ahead. The show is a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH.

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