The Associated Press August 18, 2011, 11:26AM ET

INFLUENCE GAME: Some groups may want debt gridlock

Gridlock, as much as it's derided, may be the best outcome for the elderly, health care providers and poor people in this fall's fight over further deficit cuts.

Lobbyists are calculating whether the special interests they represent would be better off working with a new supercommittee to find $1.5 trillion dollars in budget savings. Or, should they work against a deal, even if that means automatically unleashing some $1.2 trillion in spending cuts?

Congress exempted many popular programs from those automatic cuts -- Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare health benefits, veterans' pensions and public housing subsidies. How they would fare with the 12-member supercommittee is uncertain.

Joel Packer, an education lobbyist, likens the choice to the TV show -- "Let's Make A Deal." No one knows what's behind door No. 1.

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