The so-called Super Committee that’s being formed in Congress to hammer out a deficit reduction plan is getting negative reviews from Iowa Republicans and Democrats. The bipartisan panel has until November 23rd to craft a blueprint to eliminate $1.2 trillion in federal spending or face automatic cuts. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican, says all of the country’s financial eggs are now in that one basket.
“I’m pessimistic whether or not it’ll produce a result,” Grassley says. “I think I would put most of my determination of that on the three people that (House Democratic leader Nancy) Pelosi has appointed. I’m pessimistic but it happens that it’s the only game in town.”
Since this is the solitary option, Grassley says he says he feels he has to be committed to making the dozen-member Super Committee effort work. “The chances of success will be the interaction of the group of 12 with the various committees throughout the government that make policy and the individual agendas of the separate committees,” Grassley says. “If they’re willing to work with us, it has a better chance of success but I also think that it’s a long shot.”
Grassley serves on both the agriculture and finance committees. Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, says the Super Committee process is likely to fail, and if that happens, Harkin says the automatic cuts that kick in would be fair.
“If they don’t reach an agreement, then there are certain automatic cuts that will happen in the future,” Harkin says. “Quite frankly, in some ways, that’s more balanced perhaps than what the committee will come up with, because 50% has to come out of defense and 50% out of discretionary.”
Harkin spoke to citizens in Cedar Rapids on Monday, along with fellow Democrat, Congressman Bruce Braley of Waterloo. Braley told the group America needs tax increases along with spending cuts. “Every single major deficit reduction effort in the past 40 years, whether it was by a Republican or a Democratic president, included not just spending cuts but revenue enhancements,” Braley says.
“That’s why I voted against the deficit reduction deal, because there was nothing in there to attack this in a meaningful way.” Braley, Harkin and Grassley are all in Iowa this week holding town hall-style meetings. Congress won’t return from recess until after Labor Day.