Members of the “deficit” “cutting” supercommittee took to the Sunday talk show circuit to give their final synopsis of negotiations ahead of tomorrow’s deadline. (The actual deadline in Nov. 23, but the any plan the committee puts forward must be scored by the Congressional Budget Office and posted publicly 48 hours in advance.) The lowering of expectations, not to mention the finger-pointing, has already begun. As always, the biggest sticking points continue to be taxes and entitlement reform.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R., Texas), supercommittee co-chair, on Fox News Sunday:
Nobody wants to give up hope reality is to some extent starting to overtake hope…This wasn’t so much of a failure, so much as a failure to seize an opportunity…Unless you fundamentally figure out as a nation how you’re going to get quality healthcare opportunities for all of our citizens at a price that doesn’t bankrupt our children, yes we will fail…It’s not about assigning blame, but we are unaware of any Democrat offer that didn’t include at least $1 trillion tax increase on the American economy.
Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.), supercommittee co-chair, on State of the Union:
As long as we have Republican lawmakers who are more enthralled with a pledge they took to a [anti-tax activist Grover Norquist] than a pledge they took to help solve the country’s problems, this is going to be hard to do…If there’s a Republican who gets up today and says I can’t let the country see a failure out of this committee and comes to us and says, ‘I’m willing to say there’s revenue on the table,’ I’ll work all night long.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) on Face the Nation:
It’s not entirely too late yet, it’s still possible to reach an agreement, but it’s going to be tough; it’s been enormously frustrating for me, and for my colleagues…On the other side there was an insistence that we had a trillion-dollar tax increase, there was an unwillingness to cut any kind of spending at all unless we had trillion dollar tax increases.
Sen. John Kerry (D., Mass.) on Meet the Press:
I want America to understand this. There’s one thing standing between us and avoiding a sequester. And that one thing is the Republican unwillingness to not push for the Bush tax cuts to be extended…if they give up their insistence of the Bush tax cuts, we can get this done.
Sen. Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.) on Meet the Press:
It’s been very hard so far…We have not been able to entitlement reform or tax reform and so Republicans say let’s see if we can salvage something here, take areas where we at least have some agreement in our meeting, put those together and it adds up to about $640 billion that we could actually save in increased costs or in some cases, some revenue from asset sale and that sort of thing. My Democratic friends said no to that offer because it didn’t raise taxes. And I think that tells you a lot. And that is that in Washington, there are folks that will not cut a dollar unless we also raise taxes.
Rep. Xavier Becerra (D., Calif.) on Fox News Sunday:
I think we’re deep into the forth quarter, but there’s still time on the clock…Got to be optimistic, but pragmatically so.