If Supercommittee Fails, What Happens? Nothing

And failure is looking exceedingly likely
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2011 7:35 AM CST
With reporters looking for an update, Patty Murray, co-chair of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, walks through the Capitol after a closed-door meeting, Nov. 15, 2011.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – There’s a reason Capitol Hill isn’t in panic mode ahead of the supercommittee’s dreaded Nov. 23 deadline: because nothing will actually happen in the now-likely event that the committee fails. Turns out those massive spending cuts that supposedly serve as a sword of Damocles for lawmakers don’t kick in until January 2013, the Washington Post reports, giving lawmakers plenty of time to work out a fix. Of course, they’ll probably wait to actually do so until after the next election.

The expiration of the Bush tax cuts also kicks in at the start of January 2013, so expect yet another do-or-die legislative scramble then. A deal certainly looks unlikely right now, despite a brief bipartisan meeting last night. Max Baucus was so pessimistic that he became angry and "emotional" as he talked to the Post. “Everybody’s afraid—afraid of losing their job—to move toward the center,” he said. “Compared to the thousands who have given their lives in service to this country, I think it’s tragic and it speaks volumes.”

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