President Obama called the Democratic and Republican chairmen of Congress’s special deficit reduction supercommittee Friday and urged them to reach a deal, as the panel’s deadline for agreeing on a strategy to slash the nation’s debt rapidly approaches.
In separate phone calls, Obama urged Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) to find a way to steer the 12-member bipartisan panel to an agreement, the White House said.
But he also carried another message: Congress should not undo the painful consequences for failing to reach a deal that were agreed to when the supercommittee was created in the August debt deal.
According to that agreement, if the committee of six senators and six representatives deadlocks, budgets will be cut automatically by $1.2 trillion over the next decade.
Half of those cuts would come from the Pentagon, a prospect daunting enough that leading lawmakers have suggested the cuts should be repealed.