–Hill Deficit Panel To Hear From CBO Director On Discretionary Spending
–CBO’s Elmendorf Will Make Second Visit To Hill Deficit Panel

By John Shaw

WASHINGTON (MNI) – Confronted with criticisms about its lack of
public visibility and scorched by criticisms that it is making scant
progress, Congress’s new deficit reduction panel will hold a hearing
next week with Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf.

Elmendorf will testify on discretionary spending trends Wednesday
at 10 a.m.

The Select Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction has held only three
public hearings so far: its organizational meeting on Sept. 8, a budget
overview hearing on Sept. 13 with Elmendorf and a revenue overview on
Sept. 22 with Thomas Barthold, the chief of staff of Congress’s Joint
Tax Committee.

The deficit committee received a private briefing Wednesday from
the members of a bipartisan group of senators who have developed a
far-reaching deficit reduction plan.

In the last several weeks, the 12-person panel has been meeting
several times a week in often lengthy private sessions. Members have
left those sessions tight-lipped, saying nothing that might provide a
hint about where the panel is headed.

Some Republican members of the panel, such as Sen. Jon Kyl, has
said the panel should focus on achieving the $1.2 trillion to $1.5
trillion deficit cutting goal.

Some lawmakers and outside groups have urged the panel to come up
with a $4 trillion deficit reduction plan over 10 years.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad told Market News
International Thursday that the panel should submit a $4 trillion
deficit reduction package.

Analysts have said that the deficit reduction panel needs to submit
its recommendations to the CBO by early November so the CBO can score
the package by Nov. 23.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a Democratic member of the panel, has said
it needs to secure an agreement in the next three weeks.

Congress’s Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is charged
to submit a report to Congress by Nov. 23, 2011 that reduces the deficit
by between $1.2 trillion and $1.5 trillion for the 2012 and 2021 period.

The final package, if one is agreed to by the majority of the
panel’s 12 members, must be voted on without amendment by the House and
Senate by Dec. 23, 2011.

If the panel fails to agree on a spending cut package or Congress
rejects its plan, a budget enforcement trigger would secure $1.2
trillion in budget savings through across-the-board cuts.

The cuts would be equally divided between defense and non-defense
programs but would exempt Social Security, Medicaid and low-income

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