The deadline is Wednesday and no plan or even a partial plan is visible. This means that we are headed for sequestering - unless Congress votes otherwise and the across the board cuts mandated by the debt ceiling agreement are delayed or scotched altogether.
A member of the congressional supercommittee expressed doubt that the panel would reach an agreement on a U.S. deficit-reduction package by its Nov. 23 deadline.
Senator Jon Kyl, an Arizona Republican, called a slimmed- down debt plan rejected this past week by Democrats a "last- ditch" effort by his party to ensure the panel is able to "at least accomplish something and not come away with a goose egg."
It's too late for lawmakers to send new proposals to the Congressional Budget Office to be analyzed for their impact on the deficit, he told reporters yesterday.
Kyl said his colleagues hope that "even at this late date" the committee could put together ideas that had already been analyzed by the CBO. "I think that's pretty doubtful at this point but obviously nobody wants to quit until the stroke of midnight," he said.
The panel has been deadlocked over income-tax increases, with Republicans pushing to permanently extend President George W. Bush's tax cuts, as well as to make cuts in politically sensitive entitlement programs such as Medicare.
The deadline for an agreement on how to carve $1.2 trillion out of the budget is Nov. 23, though under the rules a CBO cost estimate of any final plan must be publicly available 48 hours beforehand. There was little sign of urgency yesterday in the mostly empty Capitol. Democratic members of the supercommittee did not meet, while Republicans held a conference call.
Does anyone really think Congress will allow these cuts to go forward? I didn't think so.