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Days after Congress ended a “manufactured” crisis over raising the debt ceiling, lawmakers are gearing up for another — perhaps even more — contentious debate over the new “Super Committee” that is tasked with cutting $1.5 trillion from the federal deficit.House and Senate leaders have until August 16 to select 12 members for the committee, which must report its findings to Congress by November 23.
Republican lawmakers have indicated they will not appoint anyone to the committee who backs raising revenues — frustrating Democratic efforts to find a “balanced” solution.
“So what does that leave the committee to do?” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told POLITICO. “Should Pelosi and I just not appoint and walk away?”
A Democratic aide said Reid is doing everything he can to keep the cuts vs. revenue debate that has plagued congress these past few months from scuttling the committee he first conceived.
Reid said this week he would appoint “people who are willing to make hard choices but are not locked in,” maintaining that he is standing up to pressure from progressives not to appoint anyone that may support entitlement reform, and is encouraging Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to do the same with revenues.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was equally critical of Republicans, telling reporters that Democrats are leaving everything on the table.
“If they want to draw lines in the sand, let them look like the obstructionists,” she said. “You won’t see me drawing lines in the sand.”
Democrats aren’t pushing for tax reform in the committee, the aide said, noting that the compressed timeline would make comprehensive reform nearly impossible. But Reid and Pelosi want to close the same corporate loopholes and subsidies that Speaker of the House John Boehner agreed to in his “grand bargain” negotiations with President Barack Obama.
The aide said any tax reforms would occur outside of the committee. In addition to time, another complicating factor is that the committee is tasked with lowering the deficit based off current law, which includes the expiration of the Bush tax cuts.
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