Supercommittee Stumbles

The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction failed to come up with a bipartisan plan to cut the nation’s deficit before its Thanksgiving deadline. “We are deeply disappointed that we have been unable to come to a bipartisan deficit-reduction agreement,” wrote committee co-chairs Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) in a joint statement released Monday. The panel’s inability to reach consensus means that the Budget Control Act’s sequestration provision will trigger starting in Fiscal 2013, cutting up to a half trillion dollars from the Pentagon’s budget over the next 10 years on top of the $450 billion in reductions the White House already has asked the Defense Department to absorb. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta issued a statement Monday, saying the committee’s failure “is a setback for the country’s efforts to achieve fiscal responsibility while protecting our national security.” He said the additional cuts would “tear a seam in the nation’s defense” and “lead to a hollow force incapable of sustaining the missions it is assigned.” He added: “Our troops deserve better, and our nation demands better.” (See also Doomsday Projections and The Ugly Truth.)