Efforts to reach an agreement on $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions fell short over the weekend and today as members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction acknowledged that they were unable to bridge differences over tax revenues and spending reductions. As part of the debt limit increase agreement enacted in August, the 12-member panel -- divided evenly between Democrats and Republicans -- had been charged by the Budget Control Act to vote by November 23 on a deficit reduction plan.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), as co-chairs of the Joint Select Committee, late today issued a joint statement formally announcing that "it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee's deadline." In their statement, the c0-chairs noted that "despite our inability to bridge the committee's significant differences, we end this process united in our belief that the nation's fiscal crisis must be addressed and that we cannot leave it for the next generation to solve."
If the "super committee" had succeeded in agreeing on recommendations, those proposals would have been guaranteed an up-or-down vote without amendment in the House and Senate by December 23. However, the Joint Select Committee was unable to agree on an acceptable mix of revenues, discretionary spending cuts, and changes to Medicare and other mandatory spending programs.