GUAM – The super committee conceded Monday in Washington that it will not meet its Wednesday deadline to submit a deficit reduction plan, setting the nation on a path to across-the-board budget cuts to U.S. domestic and defense programs, affecting budgets for ten years beginning in fiscal year 2013. The failure could cast a yearlong freeze in the military buildup program meant to prepare Guam to base thousands of Marines from Okinawa.
President Obama called for Congress to rally nonetheless before the so-called “sequester mechanism” would be triggered this January, saying that super committee’s failure should not prevent Capitol Hill from still producing a balanced deficit reduction plan before then.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta joined Mr. Obama to keep the pressure on lawmakers to use the next few weeks to yet hammer out an agreement that will produce a strategy-driven plan that would block indiscriminate across-the-board slashing. Allowing sequestration would “tear a seam in the nation’s defense,” Mr. Panetta said earlier this week. A broad deficit-reduction plan would avoid cutting another $500 billion to $600 billion from defense spending over 10 years.
Without a plan before January, the nation can expect a yearlong legislative battle – complicated by a presidential election next November – over whether and how to find a way around the automatic cuts.
For more on the consequences of the super committee’s failure, read these two stories:
Obama, Panetta Urge Congress to Formulate Budget Plan (at the Defense Department website)
Analysis: Fallout from deficit-reduction panel failure (Reuters)
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