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Report: Supercommittee Set to Announce Failure

High hopes that the congressional supercommittee charged with proposing a deficit reduction solution appear to be dashed as Republican and Democratic leaders of the panel are set to announce failure, according to a report from Reuters on Monday.

The supercommittee was charged with proposing at least $1.5 trillion in savings over the next decade, but the Reuters story says the panel’s leaders will release a joint statement Monday declaring defeat in their efforts.

The supercommittee was established as part of the summer debt ceiling compromise and a threat of automatic across-the-board cuts, also part of the debt deal, was supposed to ensure the panel would reach a deal.

Now with no deal being the likely outcome, $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts, split 50-50 between defense and nondefense spending, are set to be implemented starting in 2013.

Lawmakers expressed pessimism on the supercommittee’s prospects for success on the Sunday talk shows, as covered by National Journal.

However, some have hinted that there could be a way to work around the trigger cuts and spare the Pentagon and other areas of the defense budget. Last week on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said on CBS’ Face the Nation Sunday the trigger cuts could be reworked and that the cuts could be a good thing even with the failure of the supercommittee.

“The silver lining is that we’re going to get the spending cuts anyway,” Toomey said in the interview. “That was designed into the bill that created the committee in the first place that raised the debt ceiling. The $1.2 trillion in spending cuts, however, I think need to be reconfigured.

“They’re done in a way that would be very harmful to our nation’s defense. Defense Secretary Leon Penetta has said that they would hollow out our military. So I think it’s very important that we change the configuration but that we not abandon the spending cuts because we need them,” he said.

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