Bloomberg News

Becerra Says Supercommittee Still Has ‘Time on the Clock’

November 20, 2011

(Updates with Becerra quotes starting in third paragraph.)

Nov. 20 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Representative Xavier Becerra, a California Democrat and a member of the congressional supercommittee seeking at least $1.2 trillion in budget cuts, said conversations toward a deal would continue into this week.

“We’re deep into the fourth quarter, but there’s still time on the clock,” Becerra said on “Fox News Sunday.” The 12 members of the committee -- three Democrats and three Republicans from the House and the Senate -- have until Nov. 23 to come up with a budget package to avoid a “trigger” that mandates spending cuts starting in 2013.

Becerra said lawmakers could get around a Monday deadline to get a plan to the Congressional Budget Office for scoring.

“The reality is that the Congressional Budget Office, which has to score this plan, has essentially seen all the different elements,” he said. “It’s better to do this the smart way then to have some sequestration process decide through automatic triggers.”

The “elements of a deal” are still under discussion, he said, noting that Democrats are still open to an increase in the eligibility age for Medicare and a reduction in the cost-of- living adjustment for Social Security as part of a “balanced package.”

Becerra said he wouldn’t support altering the trigger, saying it was “a wimpy way out” of supercommittee failure.

“We’ve got to move forward,” he said. “The triggers give us $1.2 trillion in savings. I think there’s a smarter way to do it than with triggers, but you start shaving away the responsibility to actually make some of those cuts and savings, then -- guess what -- you’re in a worse hole a year from now than you are today.”

--With assistance from Leslie Hoffecker in Washington. Editors: Leslie Hoffecker, Ann Hughey

To contact the reporter on this story: Kathleen Hunter in Washington at khunter9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net


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