The bipartisan debt-reduction “supercommittee” will hold its third public hearing next week, the panel’s co-chairs have announced.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said that the 12-member panel will meet at 10 a.m. next Thursday, September 22, in Room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The topic is “Revenue Options and Reforming the Tax Code,” and the featured witness will be Tom Barthold, chief of staff for the Joint Committee on Taxation.
The group’s members have been meeting both publicly and privately as they work toward a plan that would achieve at least $1.5 trillion in deficit savings over the next ten years. But time is running short: Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf said at the committee’s last hearing earlier this week that his office must receive a proposal from the group by the end of October in order to have enough time to score it before the panel’s Thanksgiving deadline.
That leaves little over a month-and-a-half for the supercommittee to work out its plan. And complicating matters is the fact that outside groups, leaders and lawmakers not serving on the committee have called for the panel to “go big” and work toward a proposal that would cut as much as $4 trillion over the next decade.
The group on Thursday held its first private gathering, a breakfast meeting on the Senate side of the Capitol.
News of next week’s meeting comes as House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has outlined Republicans’ position on the group’s negotiations. In a speech Thursday before the Economic Club of Washington, Boehner said that the supercommittee should make progress in its final deal toward a comprehensive reform of the tax code.
Leaders of both parties have cited tax reform as an area of potential agreement; but with about only six weeks remaining until the panel must reach a deal, it’s unclear whether members will have enough time on their hands to fully address the topic.