Super Committee Wants to Count $700B War Savings

'Gimmick' would pay for things like payroll tax cut
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2011 7:40 AM CST
Pete Domenici, Alice Rivlin, Alan Simpson, and Erskine Bowles, respond during a hearing on Capitol Hill, Nov. 1, 2011.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – The congressional super committee isn’t any closer to a deal, but consensus is growing around one thing: Counting the roughly $700 billion the country intends to stop spending in Iraq and Afghanistan toward its total. The idea has budget experts enraged—one member of a bipartisan group called it “the mother of all budget gimmicks”—so the committee has at least decided not to count the $700 billion toward its $1.2 trillion goal, the Washington Post reports.

Instead, it will use that money to offset things it would rather spend money on, such as extending emergency unemployment benefits and the current temporary payroll tax cut. Both Republicans and Democrats are said to be onboard with the idea, though they differ on what to use the money for—Democratic aides say Republicans want to reserve some to pay for staving off a scheduled Medicare cut, and exempting households from the alternative minimum tax.

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