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SD Delegation On Supercommittee Failure

November 21, 2011, 4:53 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

SD Delegation On Supercommittee Failure
SIOUX FALLS, SD - The Congressional Supercommittee that was charged with finding more than $1 trillion in federal savings announced Monday afternoon that it has failed. That could mean billions of dollars in cuts to programs across the country.

The Supercommittee of six Democrats and six Republicans was supposed to find $1.2 trillion that would help ease the federal deficit. They needed to have a plan done by Monday. They didn't meet that deadline. 

Democrats wanted increased taxes for millionaire Americans, and the Republicans wanted to find the savings by making changes to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, but neither side would budge.

"There is no excuse for this, dropping the ball," South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson said Monday.

South Dakota's Senators say the failure of the committee is just the latest example of the deep disagreement between the parties over how to cut down the deficit; tax the rich more or spend less.

"I think it demonstrates that there's a very wide gulf between the two points of view," Senator John Thune said.

The failure by the committee now means that $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts are now looming. The cuts would take affect in January 2013.  Half of them would come from defense spending; the other half from other departments.

However, that ratio is likely to change as members of Congress jockey around the numbers in the next year.

"I think that there will be a big discussion in the next year about how to achieve that $1.2 trillion that this now will trigger. I hope we can come to a conclusion on how to do that without gutting the military budget, but I think we have to be held accountable," Thune said.

Johnson also believes there will be some changes to those automatic cuts, but he also knows they are likely to have a big affect on programs South Dakotans depend on.

"Those cuts will greatly affect South Dakota, farm programs, defense programs and everything in between," Johnson said.

In a statement Monday, South Dakota's lone U.S. House member, Republican Representative Kristi Noem, said the failure of the committee continues the gridlock in Washington.

"The Joint Committee was specifically designed to help break gridlock, but it seems that compromise has once again taken a back seat to partisanship. Neither party can reduce our deficit alone. We must find a way to work together to tackle our debt problem before it's too late," Noem said.

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