Nebraska’s United States senators are split on whether a special Congressional committee will be able to agree on a plan to reduce the national deficit.
Senator Johanns believes the hammer hanging over the committee’s head will force action.
“Well, the consequences of not acting by the super committee are dire,” Johanns says.
Senator Nelson isn’t optimistic.
“I think it’s going to be very difficult for them to come together on the issues, finding cuts. And I hope I’m wrong about that, but I think it’s going to be very difficult,” according to Nelson.
Legislation which broke the impasse on the debt ceiling debate in Washington postponed difficult decisions on how to best deal with the nation’s debt, now beyond $14.3 trillion. The burden has been placed on the shoulder of a special committee of 12, six Democrats and six Republicans, evenly split between the House and Senate. If the committee fails to reach agreement, automatic cuts kick in; half to defense, half to domestic programs.
Nelson worries about those automatic cuts.
“Very concerned that a deadlocked super committee will just simply result in automatic cuts to defense,” Nelson says.
Nelson notes that this special committee will not follow the normal process Congressional committee do. It can’t. It faces a deadline of late November to recommend cuts. It won’t be able to hold hearings and methodically work through the issues. Reports from Washington indicate the committee will lean on work already accomplished, such as the talks led by Vice President Joe Biden or the work of the so-called Gang of Six.
While Johanns holds our hope that the committee will be able to reach agreement and provide Congress a deficit-reduction plan it can approve and Nelson casts doubt on its effectiveness, both agree federal spending must be cut.
“No economy in the world is growing fast enough to deal with how fast our spending is increasing,” according to Johanns. “Therein lies the problem.”