- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 17, 2012

After the supercommittee’s failure in 2011, the Senate Finance Committee’s chief economist suggested this week Congress may turn to a new “Super Duper Committee,” in an effort to avoid the fiscal cliff, with dire consequences that are too big to fail.

“The supercommittee was like a can with nails, and we kicked it down the road,” Jeff Wrase, chief economist of the Senate Finance Committee, said on Friday. “Now, we have to construct an exploding can, so no one can kick it down the road again.”

The fiscal cliff is a series of massive spending cuts and tax hikes that take a drastic approach to reducing the deficit, which would hurt economic growth. The Obama administration and Senate Democrats have struggled to negotiate with House Republicans over a more reasonable solution to reducing the deficit.

President Obama has been calling for higher taxes on the wealthy, but Republicans are resisting.

To make matters worse, Mr. Wrase said “it’s not entirely clear” whether Senate Democrats are on board with the Obama administration, which could make negotiations even more complicated.

“It’s not clear to me how much more aggressive Senate Democrats will be,” he said.

It’s becoming a game of chicken between lawmakers with the economy at stake. While the last Super Committee skirted the problem, Mr. Wrase said the consequences for the “Super Duper Committee” should be too big too fail.

“You’re kicking the can, but it’s going to hurt and it’s going to hurt both sides,” he said.