Under this summer's debt-limit compromise, $1.2 trillion will automatically be cut if the panel does not act. Can Congress circumvent that requirement?
House and Senate lawmakers would likely rethink allowing some budget cuts to be triggered automatically if the so-called deficit "supercommittee" fails to come up with at least $1.2 trillion in savings, or if Congress fails approve such a plan by Dec. 23, a member of the panel predicted on Sunday.
Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) insisted he is not giving up on the chances that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction can make its Nov. 23 deadline for agreement on a plan to give to the rest of Congress to consider. That hopeful sentiment was echoed by the committee's co-chairman, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas.), speaking Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union"--although his panel's deadline is just 10 days away.
But Toomey said that if agreement is not reached on how to cut at least $1.2 trillion from the nation's deficit over the next decade, "I think a lively debate will occur" over whether to allow the automatic cuts take place--so-called sequestration--despite President Obama's insistence on Friday he would not go along with any attempt to turn them off.