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Week Ending November 22, 2011

Super Committee – Debt Talks Collapse

The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, the so-called “super committee” charged with coming up with an additional $1.2 trillion in budget savings over the next 10 years, could not agree on a plan by the required deadline this week. The major sticking points were the insistence by the GOP members on substantial cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits and unfair tax policies protecting the wealthiest 1% without creating jobs for the 99% of Americans struggling in this difficult economy.

While some critics are attacking the super committee’s deadlock, no deal is certainly better than a bad deal that would have made permanent unfair tax cuts for the wealthy while increasing health care costs for seniors, children and the poor, and cutting Social Security benefits. President McEntee issued the following statement:  “We are deeply dismayed that congressional Republicans on the super committee once again were unwilling to stand up to Grover Norquist and the Tea Party to find solutions our country needs. The Democrats on the super committee came to the table willing to achieve significant deficit reduction without harming working families. Cutting programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security would have a perilous impact on future generations. Congress must now refocus their energy on the jobs crisis in this country and defend the middle class instead of gouging them even further.”

Because the super committee did not reach agreement, automatic, across-the-board spending cuts, evenly split between defense and non-defense programs, are scheduled to occur starting in 2013. But, 2013 is still a long way off. Congress has a year to consider options for further deficit reduction or to change the automatic cuts, but President Obama has vowed to veto efforts to eliminate them.

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