The Federal Deficit Battle of 2011


Oct. 19, 2011, 2:20pm
Brookings Mountain West


Ron Haskins, Brookings Institution, Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, Co-Director - Center on Children and Families

After failing to reach agreement on revenue increases and health care reforms, the two major issues underlying the unsustainable federal deficit, Congress punted by assigning the next step in deficit reduction to a Super Committee composed of twelve members of Congress (6 Republican, 6 Democrats; 6 Representatives, 6 Senators). By November 23, at least 7 members of the Super Committee must agree on a proposal to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over ten years (in addition to the $.9 trillion already achieved by Congressional action) and Congress must vote on the proposal by December 23. The Super Committee’s solution, if they find one, must be voted on by Congress without amendment and without interference from a filibuster. But will the Super Committee be able to do what the full Congress has not been able to do and reach agreement on a fairly big (but still inadequate) deficit reduction package? In this presentation and discussion with the audience, Haskins examines why Congress has failed to take effective action against the growing federal deficit, the reasons Congress punted to the Super Committee, what the Committee is supposed to do, how the Committee is operating, the consequences of not reaching a deal, the next steps in solving the deficit even if the Committee is successful, the politics of the ongoing deficit struggle, and several other related topics. He also examines the effect of the federal deficit crisis on the states in general and Nevada in particular.

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