House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) discussed the work of the debt “supercommittee” during a Capitol huddle Tuesday afternoon, but afterward there was no indication of progress from either side as the bipartisan panel faces a deadline seven days away.
“We talked about a number of things today; we have a lot of things to do before the end of the year comes,” Reid told reporters outside the Senate chamber. “We probably have only three weeks left, and we had to talk about the things that we have to try to get done. Did we talk about the supercommittee? Yeah, but it was non-substantive.”
A spokesman for Boehner did not have any comment on the meeting.
House Republicans discussed the panel’s work at their morning caucus meeting, and congressional leaders and members of the supercommittee continued to meet throughout the day Tuesday as they faced mounting pressure to reach a deal ahead of their Thanksgiving drop-dead date.
“We need to get our deficit down; that’s why we’re all here,” Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), a member of the supercommittee, told reporters as he entered Reid’s office Tuesday afternoon. “That’s why we all sought these jobs. You know, do what’s right for the country. It’s very difficult, so we’re working very, very hard to find that solution.”
Asked by a reporter to clarify where the panel’s negotiations stand, Baucus responded, “Well, you know, at some point we’ll be more clear.”
Reid, Boehner and other congressional leaders have maintained that if the supercommittee passes a deal, both the House and Senate will pass it soon afterward. But asked whether he would unconditionally support whatever proposal the supercommittee comes up with, Reid said he’d have to see the plan.
“I don’t know what’s in it. . . . I have to see what it is,” he said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday afternoon that Republicans are still waiting for a counteroffer from Democrats on the bipartisan panel.
“We’ve made an offer,” he said. “We’ve been waiting for a week for a counteroffer. . . . My position is we need to get a result here. We’ve got just a little bit of time left. Frequently in the legislative process, deals come together near the end.”