Let's Make a Deal – Or Not

With its Nov. 23 deadline looming, members of the congressional “Super Committee” have a range of options as they try to find at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade. Here are some of the possibilities:

A Grand Bargain:  President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner tried negotiating a much larger deficit reduction package earlier this summer that included reforming entitlement programs, cutting security and non-security spending and increasing tax revenues, but it found little support among House Republicans. This week a bipartisan group of 100 House members and 45 Senators urged the Committee to adopt a similar approach and to "go big."

Hit the Target: The Committee develops a package that reaches the $1.2 trillion threshold, probably through some mix of spending cuts – possibly including entitlement programs such as Medicare – and new revenues gained by eliminating tax loopholes.

No Deal: The Committee fails to reach any agreement, triggering sequestration – the automatic spending cuts that will generate $1.2 trillion in savings.

Come up Short: The Committee develops a package that somewhat reduces the deficit but fails to reach the $1.2 trillion threshold. Sequestration would make up the gap.

Stall: The Committee gets an extension of the Nov. 23 deadline from Congress.

Repeal: Congressional Republicans who oppose automatic cuts to defense and Democrats who want to preserve domestic programs unite to block cuts, effectively repealing the Budget Control Act they enacted this summer.