The speaker said he was committed to finding a solution that satisfies the $1.2 trillion requirement, but acknowledged that reaching an agreement would be difficult. “I’ve had lots of conversations with lots of people trying to ensure that we do in fact get to an outcome,” he said. “I’m not surprised that we’re having some difficulty, because this isn’t easy. It’s going to be very hard. But I do think it’s time for everybody to get serious about it.”
Meanwhile, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) told reporters that the Republicans’ plan was unpalatable because it lacked significant tax increases. “If it’s going to be bold, that doesn’t do it,” she said.
However, Pelosi didn’t exactly endorse the Democratic plan either, saying she’s “not making any judgment.” In fact, reports indicate that some Democrats, including a couple members on the supercommittee — Reps. James Clyburn (D., S.C.) and Xavier Becerra (D., Calif.) — are not pleased with the proposed changes to entitlement programs outlined in the Democratic plan, even though the changes are taken directly from recommendations put forward by President Obama.
Some on the left have lamented that the Democrats are setting themselves up for another cave-in to the GOP by offering concessions on entitlement spending in their opening bid, whereas Republicans did not budge on taxes.
On the other hand, conservative Republicans in the House, a group that has proven difficult to satisfy during the last few rounds of budget negotiations, could pose a problem for Boehner as he seeks to prepare members for yet another consequential vote.
Whatever the eventual outcome, the supercommittee will likely have to come up with something well in advance of the November 23 deadline in order to give the Congressional Budget Office sufficient time to score the plan and allow members of Congress to review.
As the clock ticks down, it’s fairly clear that anyone who believed this round of deficit talks would be any different than the last is likely to be disappointed.
— Andrew Stiles is the Franklin Center’s 2011 Thomas L. Rhodes Journalism Fellow.