More significant to the failure is that the committee never functioned as a group – with lawmakers still beholden to leadership, and under pressure from their caucuses not to give away the store. POLITICO’s Mike Allen has an extensive chronicle of this failure to connect here:
The last PRIVATE meeting was Oct. 26. You might as well stop reading right there: The 12 members (6 House, 6 Senate; 6 R, 6 D) were never going to strike a bargain, grand or otherwise, if they weren’t talking to each other. Yes, we get that real deal-making occurs in small groups. But there never WAS a functioning super committee: There was Republican posturing and Democratic posturing, with some side conversations across the aisle.
While both parties are trying to manage the fallout from the committee’s failure, the biggest victim appears to be the credibility of Congress as a whole. This committee was deemed the last best hope around partisan divides, with lawmakers hoping that a quick deadline and tough penalties would force a deal.
Instead, Congress proved itself unworthy of even its single-digit approval rating — already an historic low.
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