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Super committee could push decision past next election

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) is surrounded by reporters after leaving a meeting with fellow members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction November 18, 2011 in Washington, DC.

Jeremy Hobson: It appears the weekend did not produce a deal for the Congressional super committee, which has been trying to find $1.2 trillion in cuts to the federal deficit over the next ten years. And today is the deadline to get any package of cuts analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office.

Marketplace's Washington bureau chief John Dimsdale is here live with more on all this. Good morning.

John Dimsdale: Good morning, Jeremy.

Hobson: So, John, no deal?

Dimsdale: Not so far. Remember, the committee was given until Wednesday to come up with a deal, but any agreement has to sit out on the table for 48 hours -- which means midnight tonight. And so far, both sides are blaming each other for the impasse.

Here are Senate committee members Democrat Patty Murray on CNN yesterday and then you'll hear Republican Jon Kyl on NBC.

Patty Murray: Democrats have made some really tough decisions and come to some pretty tough choices that we're willing to put on the line.

John Kyl: From the Democratic side, it was the same thing -- raise taxes, pass the president's jobs bill, no entitlement reform...

Hobson: So both sides blaming each other John -- does this mean we go to these automatic spending cuts across the board?

Dimsdale: Yes, but not until January of 2013. And given Congress's tendency to push right up against any deadline, many people say the real deadline for cuts in domestic and military spending is still over a year away. And we're hearing talk that Congress might try to change those automatic cuts. But Jeremy, it's worth remembering that even with this breakdown, the deal reached last August still stands. It got us over the debt-ceiling impasse, and through the next election.

Hobson: Through the next election -- so I guess the assumption there is that people are going to be in a better mood to make cuts after that than they are now?

Dimsdale: Only if one side or the other is given a clear upperhand in deciding how to balance the books -- how much of this will come from spending cuts, how much from tax revenue. And if the voters remain as split as the politicians, it just doesn't look like the election is going to solve much.

Hobson: Marketplace's Washington bureau chief John Dimsdale, John, thanks.

Dimsdale: Thanks Jeremy.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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