Supercommittee Throws in the Towel on Deficit Deal

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The congressional supercommittee tasked with crafting a massive plan to cut the federal deficit is now admitting failure.

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling -- co-chairs of the committee -- announced late Monday afternoon that despite "intense deliberations," the group failed to reach an agreement.

"We have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee's deadline," the two said in a joint statement.

The bipartisan panel remained deadlocked over how to cut the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next decade.

"Just the political confusion and gridlock is enough to say to the world America can't get its act together," Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., told NBC's "Meet the Press."

Failure to reach a deal triggers automatic spending cuts across the board of the same amount to defense and entitlement programs. The cuts don't go into effect until 2013, meaning the country's debt will continue to grow.

The sticking points that eventually led to the committee's demise: Republicans don't like tax increases and Democrats don't want to cut Social Security or Medicare.

"I blame the White House for a lack of leadership on this," Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told ABC's "This Week."

"The wealthiest Americans who earn over a million dollars a year have to share, too," Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., told CNN's "State of the Union." The stalemate over deficit reduction could hurt America's credit rating, causing concern for both workers and businesses.

However, market analysts don't expect the bipartisan panel's failure to cause a huge sell-off on Wall Street, meaning your 401k may not feel an immediate hit. Already, other members of Congress are talking about changing the law to save defense or entitlement programs.

But a former U.S. comptroller general said nullifying all or part of the automatic spending cuts would trigger a serious adverse market reaction.

Ultimately, it may be voters who decide how to cut the $1.2 trillion when they elect a new Congress next year.

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Mark Martin is a reporter and anchor at CBN News, covering various issues from military matters to alternative fuels. Mark has reported internationally in the Middle East and traveled to Bahrain to cover stories on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkMartinCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/MarkMartinCBN.