Deficit Super Committee Locked In Budget Stalemate As Nov. 23 Deadline Approaches
Two of the panel's six Democrats--Sen. Patty Murray of Washington and Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland--have called Wednesday's negotiations "critical."
As has been typical of the budget negotiations, Republicans and Democrats have been eager to blame each other for failing to reach a deal.
Republicans have said they may accept more than $250 billion in tax increases. On Tuesday, Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, the top GOP member on the panel, said his party has gone "as far as we feel we can go" in terms of raising tax revenues.
Responded to Hensarling's comment, Van Hollen said, "We need to find out about whether our Republican colleagues want to continue to negotiate or whether they've drawn a hard line in the sand."
Hensarling, however, did appear to back off his earlier comments, telling reporters on Wednesday that he's "willing to look at any offer."
Both sides waited for the other to make a move as they hunkered down on opposite sides of the Capitol.
Republicans, who have moved from their staunch opposition to tax increases, said they would not give any more ground until Democrats consider reforms that would partially privatize the Medicare health-insurance program for retirees.
Hensarling said Republicans are awaiting the Democrats next offer. “I’m looking for a solution. They’ve rejected a Republican solution, they’ve rejected a bipartisan solution," he told reporters. "We await…their solution. So I’m not rejecting any offer out of hand. Quite the opposite. I’m still waiting for a new offer to be put on the table.”
it is unclear at best whether Congress will be able to find enough middle ground to cobble together an alternative package of savings. Congressional leaders are now weighing in on the process; House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, met behind closed doors Tuesday.
A bipartisan group of congressmen and senators, meanwhile, held a news conference Wednesday morning urging the members of the super committee to "go big" and find a solution that far exceeds the committee's minimum $1.2 trillion goal.
Failure to reach a compromise by the Nov. 23 deadline would automatically trigger $1.2 trillion in across-the-board cuts in 2013, including defense and military spending.