Authors: Jeanette Torres
(WASHINGTON) -- As President Obama tells Congress to “bite the bullet” on an agreement to slash $1.5 trillion from the deficit over the next decade, less than 10 days remain for the so-called Super Committee to come to terms on a deal, and just about everyone is predicting it will fail.
Over the past year, the House Republican leadership has frequently used the metaphor of “three bites at the apple” to cut spending -- the first nibble coming in the form of the continuing resolution, the second chomp at the fiscal year 2012 budget, and the third course being trillions of dollars in deficit savings concocted in a deal to increase the debt limit.
But with the previous two bites of the fruit fully digested and the committee’s Nov. 23 deadline looming, the president prodded Congress to munch on something that’s potentially a little less healthy.
“My hope is that over the next several days, the Congressional leadership on the super committee go ahead and bite the bullet and do what needs to be done because the math won’t change,” Obama said Sunday night during a news conference in Hawaii. “People keep on wanting to jigger the math so that they get a different outcome. Well, the equation, no matter how you do it, is going to be the same.”
When faced with the president’s latest rhetorical challenge, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor would not “opine” about whether bullets are more appetizing than apples, but he said he understood the pressure the committee faces, citing his experience during the deficit reduction talks led by Vice President Joe Biden earlier this year.
“I don’t want to be opining as to bullets or apples,” Cantor, R-Va., told reporters Monday. “I’m not going to opine about [the super committee's] work, about reported deals. Again, I served on the Biden talks . I know how difficult it is, and how much pressure they’re under.”
Cantor refused the ensuing onslaught of questions searching for a hint of progress in the negotiations, but he predicted the committee would meet its mandate on time.
“We’ve got to let them do their work,” he said. “I’m hopeful that there will be a good result come the Nov. 23 deadline.”
Meanwhile, that third apple might be beginning to rot. Congressional sources close to the negotiations maintain that “talks are ongoing” but refuse to characterize how close the 12-member panel is to coalescing around a consensus proposal.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio