Tuesday the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction held a public hearing entitled “Overview of Previous Debt Proposals.” Members of the supercommittee heard testimony from the four lead architects of two major deficit reduction proposals released recently: former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Senator Alan Simpson, and former head of the Office of Management and the Budget Alice Rivlin and former senator Pete Domenici. Facing a November 23rd deadline to submit their recommendations to Congress, this is likely to be the final public hearing the supercommittee holds.
Members, in consultation with Congressional leadership, will now try to negotiate a final agreement behind closed doors. Notably absent from negotiations this time around is President Obama, who has no formal role in the supercommmittee process. Democrats recently issued a proposal that reportedly would trim the deficit by $3 trillion over the next decade which includes some cuts to Medicare and Medicaid along with new revenues. Others have urged the supercommittee to aim even higher, with 100 Members of Congress- 60 Democrats and 40 Republicans- recently sending a letter suggesting $4 trillion as the target. However large differences still remain between the two parties on entitlements and tax reform that will be difficult to resolve in the next few weeks, making such ambitious proposals seem unlikely.