- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 11, 2011

House and Senate committees must submit their deficit-slashing ideas to the supercommittee by the end of the week, giving the 12 members a little more than a month to consider them before the Thanksgiving deadline to agree on a deficit-reduction plan.

Although Democrats lead the Senate, Republicans on the Finance Committee will issue a separate recommendation from their counterparts across the aisle on how they think the supercommittee should find $1.2 trillion in savings.

Hinting that reaching consensus was difficult even for the dozen Republicans, Ranking Member Orrin Hatch told reporters on Tuesday that the proposal will include reforms to Medicare but stick mainly to general ideas that everyone could agree to.

“I don’t know if we can unify all of them but we’ll get most of them,” the Utah Republican said. “It will be a pretty generalized approach — will cover a lot of things we think are very important. It’s not going to be too expansive because we don’t want to overdo it.”

The recommendations are a month in the making, after Mr. Hatch announced in early September his intention to send a deficit reduction plan separately from other Finance Committee proposals.

Mr. Hatch’s deputy chief of staff and chief counsel Mark Prater is serving as staff director of the supercommittee, which is charged with finding a plan that Congress can agree on or automatic, across-the-board cuts are supposed to kick in.

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