Super committee likely to be at an impasse

John Dimsdale Nov 21, 2011

Steve Chiotakis: Today, Arizona Republican and Congressional super committee member John Kyl said talks were still going on, but there’s not a whole lot of optimism to reach a deal to make those big budget cuts — just ahead of a deadline to cut the budget by at least $1.2 trillion over the next ten years.

Marketplace Washington bureau chief John Dimsdale is with us live right now and has the latest for us.

John Dimsdale: Good morning, Steve.

Chiotakis: So, OK — no deal?

Dimsdale: At least so far. Now, remember, the committee was given until this Wednesday to come up with a deal, but any agreement has to sit out on the table for 48 hours — so that means midnight tonight. And with this impasse, both sides are blaming each other.

Andy Laperriere of the ISI Group says the two political parties have fundamental differences over the role of government.

Andy Laperriere: The bottom line is Democrats don’t want to vote to reduce entitlement spending by a meaningful amount and Republicans don’t want to vote to raise taxes by a meaningful amount. So its difficult to get either of them to get off that position.

Chiotakis: So a failure, John, triggers Plan B — automatic cuts?

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

Chiotakis: And that election is supposed to solve Washington’s gridlock?

Dimsdale: Well, only if one side or the other is given a clear upper hand in deciding how to balance the books — how much will come from spending cuts and how much from tax revenue. If the voters remain as split as the politicians, it doesn’t look like the election will solve much.

Chiotakis: Marketplace’s John Dimsdale in Washington. John, thanks.

Dimsdale:Thank you.

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.