The Michigan contingent of the so-called Congressional "Super Committee" hosted a media call today to discuss the failed deficit reduction talks between Democrats and Republicans in Congress.
Dave Camp (R-Midland) and Fred Upton (R-St.Joseph) were part of the twelve-member bipartisan panel officially known as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.
The Committee's task: Come up with a way to reduce the nation's deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next ten years.
The committee's co-chairs released a statement yesterday. From the Los Angeles Times:
"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," said the statement from Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas).
On today's call, Rep. Upton said he was "bitterly disappointed that we did not reach an agreement." Meanwhile, Rep. Camp conjured up a Peanuts character, blaming Democrats on the committee for acting like Lucy. He said whenever they thought they were close on an agreement, "it was like Lucy was taking the football away."
In a world looking for some stability, this Congressional committee was not able to provide it.
Approval ratings for Congress are at an all time low. Just 12% of the people approve of the job Congress is doing.
When asked if they fear voter retaliation for the committee's failure, Rep. Camp said, "We'll find out next November!"
Upton and Camp are not facing any serious challenges from Democrats. Their seats are safe at this point.
Now that the committee has failed, Upton and Camp were asked about concrete steps Congress will take next.
Dave Camp replied, "we don't have any concrete steps to take at this time."
Because the committee did not come up with a plan, the country faces $1.2 trillion in automatic, across the board cuts. From the New York Times:
By law, the panel’s failure triggers new caps on spending, cutting $1.2 trillion from the military, education, health care and other priorities over 10 years beginning next fall.
Camp said the debate now turns to the entire Congress. There is speculation that Congress could try to undo the automatic cuts. That's something the White House opposes.
When asked about what they were willing to compromise in the process, Upton said, "the Toomey proposal was one I was willing to support," referring to a proposal by Rep. Pat Toomey (R-PA) that called for $250 billion in new tax revenues over 10 years.
"It did put revenue on the table," Upton said. "We tried to tie it to real reforms on spending. Everything was on the table on virtually every issue."
He said members on the committee fostered some relationships that are not going to go away.