Debt crisis still looming

Saturday, November 19, 2011 - 4:19pm

The Congressional super committee is working against a Wednesday deadline, with the fiscal health of our government at stake.

Still, the six Democrats and six Republicans on the committee have not made a deal on spending and taxes.

"We are painfully, painfully aware of the deadline that is staring us in the face," Representative Jeb Hensarling told reporters Friday.

Hensarling, a Texas Republican and co-chair of the committee is trying to find $1.2 trillion in debt reduction, but he and the 11 other Congressmen on the committee are still hung up.

Moderate Republicans like Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey are now open to tax hikes, but telling the committee "no way" are Tea Party Republicans, including Iowa's Steve King.

"Taxation is not the problem," King says. "Not taxing enough is not the problem, but spending too much is the problem."

Democratic Senator Max Baucus blew his top over the impasse.

"What in the world are we doing?", Baucus railed, in an interview. "Who are we?"

He cited the death in Iraq of his nephew, a Marine, and 4,000 others who put their lives on the line for our nation.

"And yet," Baucus said, "A majority of Congress are not willing to put their jobs on the line to reach an agreement. They're too afraid of losing their jobs. They're too timid."

Still, Baucus is not giving up.

"We're going to work as long as it takes to get an agreement," he told reporters.

If there's no agreement, $600 billion in Social Service cuts kick in automatically, plus $600 billion in defense cuts.

The cuts won't take effect until January 1st 2013, so many lawmakers aren't worried.

Just 19 days later, either President Obama or a Republican president is set to be sworn in with a new Congress in place.

They could launch quick action to reverse any automatic cuts.

It seems increasingly likely, despite the super committee and the Wednesday deadline, that solving our debt crisis will get postponed again.

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