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Dems Have ‘Upper Hand’ In Super Committee’

From a feigning surprise reporter at The Hill:

Democrats gain upper hand in deficit-reduction negotiations

By Alexander Bolton – 11/16/11

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that Democrats will block Republican efforts to torpedo cuts to the Pentagon should the supercommittee on deficit reduction fail.

Reid’s threat is yet another signal that Democrats are preparing for a supercommittee flop, and are largely comfortable with the cuts that would be triggered if there is no bipartisan agreement.

As Republican leaders vow that failure is “not an option,” Reid is growing increasingly pessimistic and already looking ahead to the consequences of missing next week’s Nov. 23 deadline.

That dynamic has Democrats saying they have the upper hand in the negotiations, with some liberals privately rooting for sequestration cuts to be triggered. Unless Republicans cave on tax increases, there is little reason for Democrats to strike a deal because sequestration does not call for structural reforms to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security.

Automatic cuts to Medicare would be capped at 2 percent and limited to insurance companies and healthcare providers while Social Security and Medicaid would be exempt.

The Defense Department is slated for $500 billion in cuts if the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction does not produce an agreement with at least $1.2 trillion in spending reductions.

Again, who didn’t see this coming?

Republican lawmakers have already called for halting those cuts. A leading conservative, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), said Republicans have “until next election to fix this thing.”

The cuts in the trigger do not go into effect until 2013.

Unfortunately, it is a lot harder to undo something rather than to prevent it from happening in the first place. (Cf. Obama-Care.)

Republicans cite the warning from Leon Panetta, President Obama’s Defense secretary, who has cautioned that slashing the Pentagon’s budget would hollow out the military.

Panetta warned lawmakers this week that a supercommittee failure would force him to slash 2013 spending by $100 billion.

Mr. Panetta could have the interest of the nation at heart. Or he could be working with the Democrats to try to pressure the Republicans into raising taxes rather than to cut military spending. Which they will find a way to cut, however this deal turns out.

But Reid said Tuesday that Senate Democrats would not allow non-defense discretionary programs to bear the brunt of automatic cuts and defense programs to dodge the blade.

“If the committee fails to act, sequestration is going to go forward. Democrats are not going to take an unfair, unrealistic load directed toward domestic discretionary spending … and take it away from the military,” Reid said…

The military has already taken a half trillion dollars in cuts. There have been no cuts anywhere else in the budget.


This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, November 16th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

9 Responses to “Dems Have ‘Upper Hand’ In Super Committee’”

  1. Astravogel says:

    Perhaps they can tap the historical reenactors
    across the nation. They supply their own uniforms,
    acouterments, and muskets, so that would be a
    saving, and would make excellent airport security
    guards, as most thugs would take one look at a two
    foot long bayonet and reconsider. I’d bet for a couple
    thousand a year, and not scheduled during any major
    reenactments, say Gettysburg and Vicksburg, that you
    could man enough places to give the National Guard some
    time off. The concept works with the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

  2. GetBackJack says:

    There’s only one Party, the Party of Power. Labels on the front doors like Republican and Democrat have no more meaning than WWE and TNA

  3. mr_bill says:

    I’m getting sick of the “soft Republicans,” as I like to call them (folks like Boehner). They get sucker-punched by the democrat party every time. It’s like watching Lucy pull the football away from Charlie Brown, over and over again. I want to believe that the Tea Party conservatives who were elected last year will remember why they were elected and why the rest of the bums got tossed out of office. I think there are a lot of soft Republican Congressmen who need to be replaced by some real conservatives next year. The soft Republicans, regardless of what they say or believe, are causing just as much trouble as the democrats, socialists, and communists.

    • tranquil.night says:

      A lot of Conservatives are getting fooled by this awful version of the Balanced Budget that’s coming up for a vote this week.

      No supermajority requirement to raise taxes = constitutional mandate to balance the budget with tax increases.


    • mr_bill says:

      Yes, TN, it sounds a lot like the pay-go bill that the democrat party passed and promptly ignored about 3 trillion dollars ago. The soft Republicans are going to walk right into this one, as well.

      CNS has been reporting on this one and Cantor is out in front banging the drum for this bill. He claims he would prefer a BBA with spending caps, but that they don’t feel they can muster the votes. I say the current bill is more damaging than leaving it alone until the Congress is more conservative. As you pointed out, the annual deficits will be filled with tax increases. Congress doesn’t know how to cut spending. They have a hard enough time with slowing the rate of spending increases, which is all the “super committee” is really looking at. Heck, they can’t manage to even come to a consensus on which accounting gimmick they are going to use to pretend they cut spending.

      A BBA without spending caps will either be ignored completely or used as a justification to tax the hell out of us. Either way its a losing proposition and should be tabled. Boehner, in his infinite wisdom thought he had the tiger by the tail when he negotiated for a vote on the amendment. The democrats out-flanked him and drafted a loser of a bill. Now the soft Republicans can’t find their spines to put a real BBA up for the vote. I would rather see the democrat party go on the record voting down a proper BBA than to see this red herring pass either House, or God forbid, both Houses.

    • tranquil.night says:

      Disgusting. There’s a reason Congress’ approval rating is smellier than your average Occupy dirt-lover, and it isn’t because they’re perceived as ‘obstructionist’ although fear of that narrative guides their entire strategy. They just keep smashing their face into the wall hoping sooner or later they’ll break through. All they have is a busted face and a pissed off base.

  4. Mithrandir says:

    How about have automatic jail time, and salary reduction kick-in for those who are too lazy to pass a budget, or keep our country out of the red? They are supposed to be the “best and the brightest” elected to manage America’s affairs, why aren’t they automatically punished for not doing so? –other countries can dissolve parliament, we can’t get rid of our people no matter how awful they are, not term limits, no automatic removal from office—nothing!

    Democrats think like this:
    1. “We will not go back!” –the repeated theme they use when even 1 of their communist ideas is about to be repealed or reduced. The alarm is sounded to ramp up the media, and get people into the streets.
    2. Zero sum gain. That is fine, as democrats are patient, and will wait the event out until better times.
    3. Move forward with communist agenda 1 millimeter or 1 centimeter at a time is terrific, as long as they are moving forward, and Republicans are on board with it.

    Republicans think like this:
    1. Any roll-back of their ideas is fine for the sake of compromise.
    2. Zero sum gain = horrible, do-nothing gridlock in which they feel like they are 100% responsible.
    3. Advancing Republicanism is unacceptable, as they don’t want the media and protesters to give them a beat down.

    Democrats fight, and Republicans compromise, that is what you can expect from this election cycle.

  5. sticks says:

    whenever the stupid committee starts to get all pumped about fiscal responsibity, that rusteling sound you hear is the sound of the wool being pulled over your eyes. They want to spend even more and convince you they fiscally responsibible and abracadabra they have a way to do it.

  6. chainsaw says:

    “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that Democrats will block Republican efforts to torpedo cuts to the Pentagon should the supercommittee on deficit reduction fail.”

    I hope they block the torpedos with their heads. Problem solved.

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