Publicly White House officials are saying that failure isn’t an option for the deficit super committee, but behind closed doors, failure is exactly what they’re expecting. Advisers privately tell the Washington Post that they’re preparing for the possibility—perhaps probability—that the 12-member committee fails. President Obama has striven to remain hands-off in the process, lest he trigger a Republican backlash, but if the committee doesn’t hit its deadline, he’ll likely have to wade into the fray.
Pessimism is just as rampant on Capitol Hill. Harry Reid and John Boehner met yesterday in what Politico sees as a sign they’re trying to craft a contingency plan in case the committee fails. No bill language is circulating, and hopes of a deal exceeding the committee’s $1.2 trillion minimum have all but evaporated. In a closed meeting yesterday, co-chair Jeb Hensarling told his fellow Republicans that the panel would probably produce either an “abject [failure] or a ‘kiss your sister agreement.’” (Read more super committee stories.)