Erika Johnsen

Predictably, with the November 23rd deadline for bipartisan deficit reduction fast approaching, Congressional leadership is scrambling to spur the "super committee" into action to prevent the automatic $1.5 trillion/next decade cuts from going into effect. Despite the obvious reasons for which the super committee should be super transparent, these meetings are taking place behind closed doors.

Congressional leaders are trying to reverse the deadlock that has befallen the deficit "super committee" in much the same way the panel has operated: behind closed doors.

The logjam is a familiar one that has doomed past budget battles. Republicans refuse to raise taxes to reduce deficits and Democrats are unwilling to carve deeply into Medicare and other entitlements unless the GOP gives on revenues.

Most of the scramble in recent days appeared to be coming from the Republican side, where House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have holed up with Republican super committee members in the Capitol.

Democrats insist that they have put a fair offer on the table, proposing tax increases but also sizable reductions to Medicare, Medicaid and other programs — potential cuts that have drawn criticism from the party's liberal base. The ball, Democrats say, is in the GOP court.

Groan. I'm going to go ahead and go on record as agreeing with Newt Gingrich on this one:


Erika Johnsen

Erika Johnsen is a Web Editor for Townhall.com and Townhall Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @erikajohnsen.