Expectations are fading that the Congressional committee tasked with coming up with a budget deal will succeed, but Alaska’s Senators are still encouraging the Joint Selection Committee on Deficit Reduction to “go big” and get something accomplished.
The group of six Democrats and six Republicans appears to be an impasse over taxes and entitlement spending. They have just five more days to come up with a plan.
Alaska’s delegation has been watching from the sidelines like most other members of the House and Senate and Senator Lisa Murkowski has voiced frustration at not having the process open to all of Congress. Now the Republican is part of a group of 150 members urging the committee in its final days to “go big and go bold.”
“We are running out of time extraordinary fast. The committee has until just Monday to report something out in order to meet the deadline of the 23rd,” Murkowski said.
Murkowski says she’s heard rumblings that both sides are holding out for their partisan agendas but she warns that won’t accomplish anything.
“We cannot be defining the solutions on partisan lines right now. Otherwise we will not be able to get to a result that will address the problem,” she said.
Not much has been leaking out of the so-called “Super Committee’s” meetings, as members have mostly been staying mum about details and working behind closed doors. However in recent days Congressional leaders have thrown partisan jabs, blaming the other side for what may be a stalemate. But Democratic Senator Mark Begich hopes the committee can stay focused in the final days and ignore the partisan and lobbying pressure. He said he’s “always optimistic to the end, hopeful they come up with something significant enough and balanced and has revenues, cuts, and a balanced investment portfolio around energy, education and infrastructure.”
Begich says if nothing advances over this weekend, he’ll be, in his words, “less optimistic.”
If the Super Committee doesn’t come up with a plan by Wednesday to save at least $1.2 trillion over a decade, automatic spending cuts will kick in starting in 2013. Alaska’s delegation has warned those cuts could be devastating to areas like military programs and education.