With time running out, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., is skeptical the 12-member supercommittee will be able to come to an agreement and avoid automatic cuts to federal spending.
The bipartisan congressional panel is seeking to find at least $1.2 trillion in savings over the next decade before Wednesday.
Both Democratic and Republican aides close to the negotiations are saying the group has failed, which will result in across-the-board cuts.
Yarmuth says he was never optimistic about the panel because its members were asked to negotiate in good faith, but couldn’t because of pressure to stand by certain positions.
“I don’t think the process was logical to begin with. Unfortunately it created a lot of expectations that were unreasonable and now the American people are going to see this as another failure of Congress, when I think it’s just part of an ongoing failure,” he says.
The partisan bickering includes GOP lawmakers criticizing President Obama for not being involved in the negotiations and Democrats insistence on raising new revenue. Democrats meanwhile, are decrying Republicans’ refusal to raise taxes.
Hammering GOP lawmakers for signing anti-tax pledges, Yarmuth says Democrats have made concessions to cut certain government programs.
“You might’ve heard Grover Norquist say on 60 Minutes last night, anybody who budges on tax rates on the Republican side is going to be defeated,” he says. :But the American people know that any solution to the long term deficit problems they have to include a rise in taxes as well cuts in government spending.”
But supercommittee members are still holding out a chance that the group can come to a deal that will pass both chambers of Congress and be approved by the president.
BREAKING: The co-chairs of the supercommittee have admitted defeat.
From Talking Points Memo:
“After months of hard work and intense deliberations, we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee’s deadline.
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. We remain hopeful that Congress can build on this committee’s work and can find a way to tackle this issue in a way that works for the American people and our economy.
We are deeply disappointed that we have been unable to come to a bipartisan deficit reduction agreement, but as we approach the uniquely American holiday of Thanksgiving, we want to express our appreciation to every member of this committee, each of whom came into the process committed to achieving a solution that has eluded many groups before us. Most importantly, we want to thank the American people for sharing thoughts and ideas and for providing support and good will as we worked to accomplish this difficult task.
We would also like to thank our committee staff, in particular Staff Director Mark Prater and Deputy Staff Director Sarah Kuehl, as well as each committee member’s staff for the tremendous work they contributed to this effort. We would also like to express our sincere gratitude to Dr. Douglas Elmendorf and Mr. Thomas Barthold and their teams at the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation, respectively, for the technical support they provided to the committee and its members.”