A dispute broke out between super-committee negotiators on Wednesday over whether other committees can cut health programs in a two-step deficit-reduction process.
The disagreement involved the panel’s possible two-step strategy, which would have committees with tax jurisdiction raising billions from an overhaul of the tax code next year.
Republicans insisted that the committees also have the authority to cut any programs under their jurisdiction, including Medicare and Medicaid. Democrats balked, saying that the second-step committee cuts could come from tax changes only.
Earlier on Wednesday Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, warned the super committee not to saddle other committees with instructions to raise billions in revenues from tax reform alone in 2012.
"Overall, tax reform is very difficult in a presidential election," Hatch told National Journal. "I'm very concerned that the super committee gives us an assignment that is doable."
And, Hatch said, the Finance Committee's ability to raise billions through tax reform alone next year "won't be doable."