NOT SO SUPERMany are calling this Washington's "Super Failure." After forming its own hand-selected committee, almost three months of secret meetings and countless arguments over who should do what to trim $1.2 trillion from the federal deficit, there is no deal.
"After months of hard work and intense deliberations, we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee's deadline," joint members said in a statement Monday, perhaps coming intentionally after the stock market closed for the day.
While predicted by many, this is a huge disappointment. It shows a continued and complete inability by Congress to accomplish much other than the re-naming of post offices these days.
Well, circle January 2013 on your calendar. That's when the trigger, or sequester, agreed upon in the debt deal this summer takes effect. It would mean automatic cuts to programs that will be problematic for both parties. So don't be surprised if Congress suddenly can agree on something: Getting rid of the trigger.
If not, and if you own a business selling pitch forks and torches, I'd advise you to stock up. Democrats will be up in arms about scheduled cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. Republicans will be furious over defense cuts. Already, John Kerry (D-Mass.) has said he's had protests outside his office and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has said trimming the Pentagon's budget not only lowers the country's protection but "invites" aggression toward the U.S.
Expect plenty of fallout over the failure to reach a deal. Granted, some will be pleased with this inaction. Critics of the committee said all along that by NOT altering measures like the Alternative Minimum Tax or extending unemployment benefits, could serve us well. Only time will tell, and for the Super Committee, that time has run out - its carriage has become a pumpkin.
A PERTURBED PRESIDENT
At a news conference Monday, President Obama wasn't shy about laying blame. "To their credit, many Democrats in Congress were willing to put politics aside," he said, going after the GOP with gusto.
"There's still too many Republicans in Congress who have refused to listen to the voices or reason," Obama said.
He insisted that the homework must still be turned in. Congress must find those $1.2 trillion in cuts somehow before the trigger kicks in January 2013.
Obama added there will be no 'off-ramp' here, and vowed to veto any effort to repeal the sequester measure.
He's going to have to take some of what he's dishing out. Critics of Obama said he should have been more hands on, openly questioning why he would take such a distant role in what can wreak havoc on Americans' 401k accounts.
We may be just days away from Thanksgiving, but all of Washington may have just a little less to be thankful for on Thursday.
NEWS & NOTES
-Tuesday night's GOP debate is here in D.C. (I'll be there to bring you live reports throughout the night on ABC7), focusing on National Security. Expect Herman Cain to have to explain some, let's say, interesting comments/pauses over everything from Libya to China. -Newt Gingrich's sudden surge (24 percent to Romney's 20 percent in brand new CNN/ORC poll) won't keep him from speaking his mind, if we've learned anything from his past. If not, he's reminding us. During a discussion on the "Occupy" movement this weekend, the former Speaker said that the group needs to "go get a job after you take a bath". (see video below) -President Obama is headed to New Hampshire Tuesday to talk about his jobs push (no coincidence he's in one of the first and most important primary states). He will be sharing TV time with Mitt Romney - kind of. The AP reports that Mr. Romney will air his first TV ads of the Presidential race Tuesday in NH that just so happen to feature Obama talking about the economy, which could make for an interesting day of back-and-forth.