With the deficit panel coming up short, the parties are gearing up for renewed debates over spending and tax issues
Already referring to failure as a fait accompli, supercommittee members and aides are turning their attention to the immediate and nasty fights expected to result.
"When failure's announced, it's going to be off to the races," a senior Democratic aide familiar with talks said Sunday.
In appearances on Sunday shows, committee members offered little hope for a last-minute deal. Immediately, the panel's inability to cut a deal would force congressional attention to year-end fights members hoped the committee would resolve: preventing the alternative minimum tax from hitting swaths of middle class Americans; protecting physicians who accept Medicare patients from losing fees; and extending a payroll tax cut for employees and unemployment benefits. Members of the supercommittee are expected to announce on Monday that they've been unable to agree on a deal.
Moving into 2012, Republicans will immediately begin attempts to alter the Budget Control Act's requirement that half of $1.2 trillion in cuts over a decade triggered by supercommittee failure hit defense spending. Democrats say they will block that effort unless the GOP allows Bush administration tax cuts to expire for top income earners.