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Sunday shows blog

Toomey: It's Likely Congress Will Reconsider Sequestration If Super Committee Fails


Supercommittee member, Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., left, confers with an aide, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011, as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction met to hear from Thomas Barthold, chief of staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, about revenue options and reforming the tax code. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Huntsman, O'Malley Criticize Perry's Foreign Aid Policy
  • Bachmann Thinks Penn State Investigation Should Stay at State Level
  • Return of the Gang of Six?
  • Toomey: If Super Committee Fails, Congress Might Rethink Budget-Cutting Triggers
  • Hensarling: Entitlement, Tax Reform Keys to Super Committee Success

      11:51. Huntsman, O'Malley Criticize Perry's Foreign Aid Policy

      Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s suggestion at Saturday night’s GOP presidential debate that all American foreign aid be reduced to “zero” and then reallocated based on each country’s support for the United States was questioned Sunday by Republican foe John Huntsman Jr. and Democratic Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.


      Democrats have seized on the comment, particularly what it would mean for U.S. aid to Israel. That, although Perry did make it clear -- when asked specifically about Israel -- that that country is a special ally and that his “bet” is that it would be funded at “a high level.”

      But appearing on CBS’s Face the Nation, Democrat O’Malley cast Perry’s remark as the latest in a series of what he called “erratic statements by the Republican presidential candidates, and “a lot of behavior that is not really in keeping with some of the longer tradition of the party of Lincoln.”

      “And so you see a real pandering to extremists, you see a pandering to the tea party extremes of the Republican Party,” said O’Malley, who is chairman of the Democratic Governors’ Association. “And so this is another one, among a series of things that don’t really add up to a lot of practical sense.


      For his party, Huntsman called Perry’s remark an example of “sound-bites campaigning.”

      “These are easy sound-bites they get an applause line. The fact of the matter is we’re broke as a country and we’re going to have to look very very carefully at foreign aid,” said Huntsman.

      But Huntsman offered that “we also have to look at it through the prism and through the analysis of what kind of return we get on our national interests.”

      In the instance of aid to Israel, he noted that that’s “balanced somewhat with the Palestinian Authority. That’s important for the ongoing peace process.” He also said there is foreign aid that goes towards such things as enhancing human rights or enforcing the rule of law in areas of the world that and that America’s interests are benefited by doing so.


      —Billy House

      11:09. Bachmann Thinks Penn State Investigation Should Stay at State Level

      Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann said Sunday that investigations into reports of child sex abuse at Penn State should stay at the state level. She also had strong words for the accused, saying that as a mother, she would "beat him to a pulp."

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      Bachmann, R-Minn., spoke on NBC's Meet the Press, about the scandal surrounding Penn State: former Nittany Lions football defensive coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of child sex abuse over more than a decade last week and univesristy president Graham Spanier and longtime lefendary football coach Joe Paterno were fired. 

      "The lens that I look at this through is as a mother. I 'm a mother of five biological children and 23 foster children. … This is so horrific on the level of a parent. My automatic reaction would be, even though I'm a small woman, I want to go find that guy and beat him to a pulp. I think that's what any parent would want to do," Bachmann said. 

      Asked whether she thought Congress should investigate or whether there was a role for the federal government in the investigation—last week the Education Deparrtment said it would look into the matter—Bachmann said she thought the state should handle inquiries. 

      "This needs to stay exactly in the jurisdiction where this occurred. Congress has a lot of other things to pay attention to,"she said.

      Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said during Fox News Sunday that it “absolutely broke” his heart to join fellow Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., in rescinding support for the nomination of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno for the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

      “You know, it absolutely broke my heart to have to rescind that recommendation,” Toomey said. But he said it “seems to me there are very important and disturbing questions about what coach Paterno knew, and when he knew it, and what he did with that information.”

      “And given the uncertainty around those issues, I couldn’t in good conscience continue to recommend that he receive the highest award that a civilian could receive in the United States,” he said.

      —Michael Catalini and Billy House

      11. Return of the Gang of Six?

      One member of the Senate's bipartisan Gang of Six argued on Sunday that if the deficit super committee fails, then Congress should turn to proposals put forward over the summer by the group that call for nearly $4 trillion in cuts over 10 years. 

      "We've tried this congressional process. I think we need to let that play itself out. We want to be there to support it. We want that super committee to be successful, but if they're not successful we think that the Simpson-Bowles approach or the Gang of Six something that has got that $4 trillion number. That ought to at least get a vote as well," Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.,, said Sunday on CNN's State of the Union. 

       The Gang of Six, which includes Senate Minority Leader Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., issued the outlines of a plan, based on the Simpson-Bowles report, that called for $3.7 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years. The plan failed to reach the critical threshold of 60 votes in the Senate.

      Coburn, also appearing on the program Sunday morning, said he sees failure in the order of what happened in Greece if Congress and the president cannot reach agreement on the deficit. 

      "Then fact is if you go back and look at two years ago at what they were writing about greece. it's exactly what they're writing about us today," Coburn said. 

      —Michael Catalini

      10:17. Toomey: If Super Committee Fails, Congress Might Rethink Budget-Cutting Triggers

      A member of the deficit super committee says Congress likely would rethink allowing the automatic budget cuts to be triggered if the panel fails to come up with at least $1.2 trillion in savings, or if Congress fails approve such a plan by Dec. 23.

      “First of all, I’m not giving up on getting something done. I really think we still can and I am going to do everything I can to achieve that,” said Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., pressed during an appearance Sunday on Fox News Sunday about whether the 12-member panel will reach agreement on a plan by its Nov. 23 deadline.

      But if agreement is not reached on how to cut at least $1.2 trillion from the nation’s deficit over the next decade, Toomey said, “I think a lively debate will occur” over whether to allow the automatic cuts take place—so-called sequestration—despite President Obama’s insistence on Friday he would not go along with any attempt to turn them off.

      “But in the very very unfortunate event that we don’t, I think it’s very likely that Congress would reconsider the configuration of that sequestration. And consider is this really the best way to do it,” said Toomey.

      He added that the debate likely would be about the “nature of those cuts—which I think the cuts have to occur, but they might occur in a different fashion.”

      Toomey’s comments come amid growing speculation that Congress could change the breakdown of the $1.2 trillion in cuts that would automatically kick in if the panel and lawmakers fail to reach a deal—half of which would come from the Pentagon and the other half from domestic programs. Republicans, in particular, have complained that such automatic would be particularly harmful to the military.

      But the White House put out a statement Friday underscoring its position that the sequestration was put in place to help force a deal to slash the debt, and should not be reconsidered.

      But with just 10 days to go until the deficit committee is supposed to turn over a plan to the rest of Congress to consider, members acknowledge they are not close to bipartisan agreement – in disputes over levels of cuts to entitlements and defining and proposing new revenues, including tax increases. But they also insist that they are continuing to work to reach a deal.

      But one member of the panel, Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., acknowledged that even the six Democrats on the committee aren’t in agreement with each other, during a later appearance on Fox News Sunday.

      “The fact of the matter is democrats have not coalesced around a plan,” admitted Clyburn. But he also said, “Republicans don’t have a plan.”

      “I think we are there to develop a bipartisan plan,” he said.

      Clyburn also took a swipe at the so-called “dynamic scoring” that some Republican members of the deficit reduction committee reportedly are considering as a way to estimate how changes in tax policy might generate changes in the economy.

      “We’ve got to come up with a plan that [the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office] will score,” said Clyburn, as opposed, he said, to “dynamic growth.” Clyburn said, “Let’s take this down to actual numbers, tax cuts, tax increases, entitlement cuts and entitlement increases.”

      —Billy House 

      9:31. Hensarling: Entitlement, Tax Reform Keys to Super Committee Success 

      For the so-called super committee to succeed, lawmakers will have to agree on structural reforms to entitlement programs and tax reform, said committee co-chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, on Sunday morning. 

      Hensarling, speaking on CNN's State of the Union, zeroed in on entitlement spending arguing that Medicaid and Medicare are "disserving their beneficiaries with forms of rationing and driving the country bankrupt." 

      Pressed on whether the committee could come up with a plan to cut $1.2 trillion by its Nov. 23 deadline and whether there is enough time to restructure entitlement programs, Hensarling pointed to plans that have already been introduced. 

      "Republicans put forth a plan in our House budget," he said, referring to the so-called Ryan Plan contained in House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan's budget. Hensarling also said that Republicans would be "willing to negotiate around" the so-called Rivlin-Domenici budget plan put forth by former Democratic White House budget director Alice Rivlin and former Republican Senate Budget Committee chairman Pete Domenici. 

      "This is a plan, bi-partisan plan ... that would also include a provision for future seniors to stay in tradtiioanl fee-for-service Medicare but use the power of patient choice and competition to save and strenghthen the program," Hensarling said.

      On revenues, Hensarling suggested that Republicans would be willing to support $250 million in tax increases—which he characterized as closing loopholes—in exchange for tax reform.

      "Whatever damage would be done by $250 billion of new taxes we think would be offset by a system that would help create jobs," he said.

      The super comittee's deadline is 10 days away, but Hensarling said he has not given up hope. 

      "It's been a roller coaster ride. I will say this: I respect my Democrat colleagues. ... We haven't given up hope," he said. 

      —Michael Catalini

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