President Obama’s jobs speech Thursday on Capitol Hill may be the main event, but not to be forgotten is the first full meeting of the Super Committee, tasked with identifying $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction by Nov. 23.
The 12-person committee – with six members from each party, and six members from the House and the Senate – will meet at 10:30 a.m. Thursday morning to make opening statements and discuss the committee’s proposed rules.
The committee has until Thanksgiving to come to an agreement on a plan to achieve a $1.5 trillion cut to the deficit over the next decade. If they do not, the trigger options, negotiated during the debt ceiling deal, would take effect.
Today on the Hill, members of both parties huddled in their respective corners privately to game out the path forward. Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Minority Leader McConnell, R-Ky., neither on the Super Committee, dropped by to meet with the Republicans on the committee. Before heading into the meeting McConnell said he would not prejudge the work of the committee yet exuded confidence in the upcoming work of the committee — noting the stakes.
“Failure is not an option,” McConnell said to reporters. “The committee is structured to succeed. We have put very serious people on there who are interested in getting an outcome for the country. And we fully anticipate they will meet their goals. And we’ll see whether they can even go beyond that, but we certainly know that they will meet their goals.”
“I’m confident that the people… the majority of the people who have been appointed by both parties really understand this is an important moment for the country,” McConnell said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said he had conversations in recent days with McConnell in which they talked about the importance of the committee “to avoid sequestration and to do big things the country really needs.”
Reid said he will not “micromanage” the actopms of Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., John Kerry, D-Mass. and Max Baucus, D-Mont. – the Democratic Senate members of the super committee.