Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Monday, November 28, 2011

US Congress may block budget cuts if super committee collapses -- What next for America?

Don't look for the Pentagon to shut down one side of its famous five-sided building. Don't expect the Education Department to pull back its grants just yet.

With the collapse of the deficit-cutting supercommittee, Congress' emergency backup budget-cutting plan now is supposed to take over _ automatic, across-the-board spending reductions of roughly $1 trillion from military as well as domestic government programs.

But the big federal deficit reductions that are to be triggered by Monday's supercommittee collapse wouldn't kick in until January 2013. And that allows plenty of time for lawmakers to try to rework the cuts or hope that a new post-election cast of characters _ possibly a different president _ will reverse them.

Congress' defense hawks led the charge Monday, arguing that the debt accord reached by President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans last summer already inflicted enough damage on the military budget. That agreement set in motion some $450 billion in cuts to future Pentagon accounts over the next decade.

The defense hawks were backed up in part by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who warned of a hollow force but implored Congress to produce a debt plan to avoid cuts "that will tear a seam in the nation's defense." more