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Sunday, October 23, 2016

What Does Obama’s Speech Mean For The Supercommittee?

President Obama announced his $3 trillion deficit reduction proposal today, which has many on the left praising the president’s willingness to tax the wealthy and many on the right grumbling. But what does this mean for the 12 members of the “supercommittee” tasked with reducing the deficit?

Obama said in his speech today,

“I will not support — I will not support — any plan that puts all the burden for closing our deficit on ordinary Americans. And I will veto any bill that changes benefits for those who rely on Medicare but does not raise serious revenues by asking the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to pay their fair share. We are not going to have a one-sided deal that hurts the folks who are most vulnerable.”

This creates a tricky situation for the six Republican members of the supercommittee: All of them have signed Republican Tax King Grover Norquist’s pledge to not raise taxes under any circumstances. So if they stick to their pledge, and Obama sticks to his new promise, the supercommittee’s plan will almost definitely be vetoed.

If the supercommittee misses its Thanksgiving deadline for making recommendations to trim the deficit by $1.2 trillion within the next 10 years, automatic spending cuts will be implemented starting in 2013.

Some commentators believe the president’s speech guarantees that the supercommittee’s recommendations will not be approved. Andy Kroll of Mother Jones wrote, “Obama’s veto threat essentially extinguishes even the slightest glimmer of hope that those dozen lawmakers would reach an agreement that could pass both chambers and win Obama’s support.”

After Obama’s speech, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said, “The good news is that the joint committee is taking this issue far more seriously than the White House.”

But with such a strong veto promise from the president, many wonder whether the supercommittee’s work — however “serious” it might be — will yield any results.

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