So when these handmaidens of the 1% come out with their wonderful new austerity plan, I suspect the response will be very, very negative:
WASHINGTON — With just five weeks until its deadline, a secretive Congressional committee seeking ways to cut the federal deficit is far from a consensus, and party leaders may need to step in if they want to ensure agreement, say people involved in the panel’s work.
The 12-member committee is just over halfway through the 76-day interval from its first meeting to the date its final report is due on Nov. 23, but has not gained much traction. The lawmakers have not agreed on basic elements like a benchmark against which savings will be measured.
The panel’s members, evenly divided between the two parties, spent most of September in a standoff. Republicans refused to budge from their position against new taxes. Democrats said they would not discuss cuts to entitlement programs like Medicare unless Republicans made a firm commitment to accept additional revenues.
The two leaders of the panel, Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, and Representative Jeb Hensarling, Republican of Texas, have told committee members not to talk publicly about their work. But other lawmakers and Congressional aides privy to the panel’s effort have provided a remarkably consistent picture of the deliberations as the committee tries, in a matter of weeks, to find fiscal answers that have eluded Congress and the White House for years.
A Republican who has worked on Capitol Hill for more than two decades said: “Basically we are going in circles. It’s going very, very slowly. The only way this will work is if the leaders decide they want to get a deal and lay down parameters. Everybody is sitting around sucking their thumb until they get some guidance on what to do.”
And just to keep it interesting, they will have to defend any dots the 99% connect between their recommendations and their latest campaign contributions:
Members of the congressional committee charged with making one of the most sensitive economic decisions facing America, a $1.2tn cut in the federal budget, have received a series of donations from the defence, pharmaceutical, oil and other industries, figures have revealed.
The Sunlight Foundation, a non-partisan organisation aimed at greater transparency in government, published donations to 10 members since they were appointed in August to the congressional super-committee with responsiblity for recommending cuts and possible tax increases over the next ten years. Their decisions, due to be announced by 23 November, could be worth millions of dollars to the specific industries.
Another group campaigning for greater transparency, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, called for donations to members to be halted for the short period they serve on the committee, so their eventual decisions will not be treated as suspect.
The super-committee, made up of six Democrats and six Republicans, was appointed as part of a compromise between Congress and the White House aimed at resolving a month-long political standoff in Washington.
Sunlight, based on declarations of donations filed by members of Congress to the Federal Election Commission, found that 19 of the biggest political donors in the country gave $83,000 to the campaigns of 10 members since their appointment to the super-committee. The remaining two members, Democratic senator Patty Murray and Republican senator Jon Kyl, took no donations.
The donors included defence giant Lockheed Martin, drug company Pfizer, oil company Chevron and the National Association of Realtors, as well as the Teamsters union.
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