House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that as the bipartisan debt supercommittee is “in the stretch” six days out from its Nov. 23 deadline, the panel has shown little sign that it will reach agreement on a far-reaching plan to tackle the country’s long-term debt.
“I’m still optimistic. But ... I’m realistic as well. I don’t hear anything that sounds big and bold,” Pelosi told reporters at her weekly news conference Thursday morning.
The panel’s 12 members have been holding closed-door meetings along party lines several times a day as they near their Thanksgiving deadline to draft a deal to achieve at least $1.2 trillion in deficit savings over the next decade. But they have shown little sign of progress, and the full committee has not held a meeting in the past three weeks.
Democrats have continued to call for a debt-reduction plan that would include significant new tax revenue, while Republicans have pushed for a proposal that would overhaul federal entitlement programs, leaving the parties deadlocked over the two major philosophical differences that have stymied previous efforts at a “grand bargain” on the debt.
“I don’t know that it will be as big and bold as I’d like, but I hope that it can be balanced,” Pelosi said Thursday of a potential supercommittee plan. She added: “If the plan is to extend the Bush-era tax cuts and to repeal the Medicare guarantee for our seniors, well that’s not balanced.”
Pelosi also on Thursday became the latest leader to say that she will oppose any efforts by members to undo the $1.2 trillion across-the-board spending cut that will go into effect in 2013 if the supercommittee fails.
“The sequester is what it is,” Pelosi said.