COLUMN: Both sides to blame for failure of Supercommittee

With the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, more commonly known as the “Supercommittee,” having failed to reach its deadline to propose reductions of $1.5 trillion from the federal deficit over the next 10 years, automatic cuts to the budget will soon be taking place.

Many in the Republican Party are now strongly voicing opposition to the automatic cuts that will be made to the defense budget, totalling approximately $600 billion.

But do the Republicans have a legitimate reason to call “foul” and argue against the proposed defense cuts? To answer this question, the formation of the Supercommittee itself must be examined.

The Supercommittee was established by the Budget Control Act of 2011, which allowed Congress to raise the debt ceiling as long as they cut $1.2 trillion from the deficit. The Supercommittee was tasked with giving a proposal to cut at least $1.5 trillion, with a deadline of Nov. 23. If Congress fails to propose $1.2 trillion in cuts by Dec. 23, raising the debt ceiling — something necessary to keep our economy afloat — would result in automatic cuts evenly distributed between defense and non-defense programs.

The Supercommittee failed to submit a proposal, and unless a small miracle happens, Congress will not come to an agreement by Dec. 23.

Defense officials and many Republicans are now saying that such drastic defense cuts put our nation at risk, and many have committed to fighting to see that those cuts do not take place.

The problem with this is those same Republicans agreed to those automatic cuts back in August. They have been unable to reach an agreement they are happy with and now they want to renege on their agreement to make automatic cuts.

Politicians on both sides of the aisle are to blame here. Both sides need to realize that if we are to reduce the deficit, there has to be some give and take. For Republicans, that is probably going to mean some kind of tax increase — whether it is ending a previous tax cut or adding a new source of revenue.

For Democrats, it will probably mean some sort of entitlement reform, whether that is to Medicare, Social Security or both.

Of all the blame-throwing going on, the person seeming to be getting hit the most is President Obama, which is ironic, as he deserves practically no blame. We have three branches of government, and the Executive Branch is not responsible for proposing laws; that job falls to Congress. Against the wishes of members of his own party, Obama did more than required by proposing one potential plan, and he has made it clear what he will and will not accept in the bill.

The rest is up to Congress. Right now the Republicans are squandering an opportunity to make gains in Congress by being unwilling to compromise, and stubbornness for the sake of stubbornness will not sit well with the American people come Election Day.

Editor’s note: Nathan Inks is the current president of the College Republicans.


  1. The President is supposed to be the LEADER of our country – he absolutely should take the heat.  Does the CEO of a company delegate a critical problem facing his company to a committee, wish them well, and walk away?  Heck no, he works WITH his team and guides the process to the intended solution.  Obama spent more time golfing because he knew (read, “guaranteed”) it would fail and did not want to be anywhere near it – he was playing politics.  A LEADER rolls up his sleeves and gets his hands dirty — Obama seems to think he is above that.  A REAL leader would have been in those meetings steering negotiations, resolving conflict, brokering deals, and making it happen.  Obama is so far over his head in his job it is scary.

    • Obama has almost no leverage over Republican members of Congress and they have repeatedly said that their main goal is to prevent him from getting re-elected.  There is nothing he could have done to change their minds, because in their minds working with him is bad in and of itself, no matter what they would be working to achieve.

  2. He didn’t even try!  I thought he was post partisan and willing/able to work across party lines.  As a LEADER he is a bad joke. 

  3. Irving Plodmore says:

    THERE ARE NO SPEDING CUTS—you have to understand “base line”budgeting.There will only be less of an increase in spending.

    The dems never intended this to work as they need it as a campaign issue.OBAMA CAN”T RUN ON HIS RECORD!
    The Republicans just wanted to kick the can down the road.

    The only one I’ve heard complaining about the non-existent cuts in Defense  is Leon Panetta–a democrat.

    We have a spending problem , not a revenue problem. When you leave college and have to work for a living try going to your boss and demanding a raise because you are spending more than you make. When he says NO,then demand a compromise.

    The American People spoke clearly in the last landslide election defeat of dem spend and tax policies.  

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