Super Committee Pressed to Meet Deadline

Nov 21, 2011, 11:04 by R.E. Christian

Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., countered Democratic criticism he blocked efforts to reach a deficit-cutting deal as the supercommittee prepared to admit failure Monday.

In a spate of morning appearances, Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction member Kyl, who is not seeking re-election, said he was "dedicated to trying to find a solution" and Republicans were the ones who had made a "breakthrough" offer that might have helped the committee reach a deal, The Hill reported.

Kyl disputed an article in The New York Times that had Democrats characterizing him as "the main obstacle to an agreement."

Kyl said the sides would meet Monday but he doubted a last-minute compromise would be reached.

"I wouldn't be optimistic, I don't want to bring you false hope here. The point is that we're still talking," Kyl said.

He added that he expected the committee's co-chairmen to issue a statement with news about whether a deal had been reached.

Budget cuts triggered if the congressional supercommittee fails in its mission must be altered to spare the Pentagon, GOP lawmakers said.

The $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts to lessen the federal deficit -- effective in January 2013 if no budget deal is reached by Wednesday -- "need to be reconfigured" to shield the Pentagon from a projected 10 percent cut, supercommittee member Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said on the CBS News program "Face the Nation."

Toomey was among a number of members of the bipartisan committee appearing on Sunday talk shows to concede the talks on a grand budget deal were near failure and to blame members of the opposite party for failure-creating irreconcilable differences.

A deal effectively needs to be reached by midnight Monday to meet the panel's parliamentary rules to have it approved by Wednesday, the legal deadline for an agreement before the automated cuts are triggered.

With the debt committee set to throw in the towel, committee members on both sides of the aisle sought to fault the other party for the lack of a deal.

"It's not assigning blame, but we are unaware of any Democrat offer that didn't include at least [a] $1 trillion tax increase on the American economy," the committee's co-chairman, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, said on "Fox News Sunday."

"As long as we have some Republican lawmakers who feel more enthralled with a pledge they took to a Republican lobbyist than they do to a pledge to the country to solve the problems, this is going to be hard to do," the committee co-chairwoman, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said on CNN's "State of the Union."

She was referring to a no-new-taxes pact some Republicans signed at the request of a conservative anti-tax group. She and other Democratic lawmakers argued the American public realized no grand deal could be reached without combining spending cuts and new tax revenues.

Source: UPI