President Barack Obama is turning to the ‘Super Committee’ to solve all of his administration’s problems with Congress.To head off steep cuts to both Medicare and the defence Department, Congress must pass $1.5 trillion in cuts to the federal deficit by the end of the year — but Obama wants the bipartisan joint committee to think much bigger.
The president will outline his proposal in a speech shortly after labour Day The Associated Press reports, and will include new ideas on job creation and deficit reduction — not just the “infrastructure bank” and other ideas he still supports, but have failed to gain traction in the House and the Senate.
It will also substantively differ from the plan he and Speaker of the House John Boehner negotiated during the debt ceiling crisis – one that Boehner rejected because of the amount of revenues Obama demanded.
Using the Super Committee would lower the threshold to pass a more substantial bill, because the group’s recommendations are required to be taken up for a straight majority vote before December 23.
Among Obama’s proposals will be an extension of the payroll tax, the ratification of free trade bills, and passage of a patent reform bill that he previously called for. New proposals will likely include some form of tax breaks for job-creating-businesses and the middle class, coupled with higher taxes on the wealthy and the elimination or corporate subsidies.
The Super Committee is not required to accept Obama’s proposals — and indeed he was specifically cut out of the process when the group was created. But with six Democrats, and several fiscal moderates on the committee, Obama’s proposals will carry a significant amount of weight.
Republicans have criticised Obama for months for failing to provide a specific plan to cut the nation’s debt — and even The New York Times editorial page declared today that the country is “waiting for Obama.”
Obama, who has long bemoaned a Congress that is unwilling to make the difficult choices, will make the choices for them, and let them take it or leave it.
“And if they don’t get it done,” Obama said at a town hall on Monday, “then we’ll be running against a Congress that’s not doing anything for the American people, and the choice will be very stark and will be very clear.”
For Obama, who faces reelection in 15 months, bold leadership is precisely what he needs to bolster his campaign. But it remains to be seen how the congressional leadership — who are committed to denying the president a second term — will react to his proposals.
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