The “Super Committee” of congressional lawmakers tasked with finding $1.5 trillion in savings from the federal deficit has begun informal conference calls and staff meetings according to one member, as Vice President Joe Biden expressed scepticism that the group will be successful.
Rep. Frank Upton (R-MI), selected selected by Speaker of the House John Boehner to serve on the committee, told WNDU in South Bend, IN, that members have spoken by conference call to discuss their plans for the committee.
“We’ve had a good number of discussions already. Our staffs are working together, and there’s a lot of documentation that we can look at already,” he said. “We really do feel like folks across the country are pulling for us to get it together. Now is our chance to focus on a long term result.”
Meanwhile, while travelling to Japan, Vice President Joe Biden said lawmakers on the committee face “very, very difficult” odds, but maintained that the 12-member panel must strive to reach the required cuts by the November 23rd deadline.
They have “a shot of getting a deal that would be viewed by Wall Street, be viewed by everyone, be viewed by the international community as a significant alteration of a trajectory of long-term debt,” he was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.
If the deal is not reached by the deadline, significant cuts to both Medicare and defence spending would take effect — cuts Secretary of defence Leon Panetta called “dangerous” to national security.
“We still may end up with the trigger being pulled,” Biden added aboard Air Force Two.
According to administration officials, President Barack Obama is preparing to push the “Super Committee” to take up job creation legislation as part of its mandate to cut the federal deficit.
The committee was created as part of the deal to raise the debt ceiling, and its recommendations must be voted on by up-or-down vote in both chambers of Congress by December 23rd.