Post-supercommittee, Congress behind on budget work

Monday - 11/28/2011, 6:21pm EST

David Hawkings, editor, CQ Roll Call's Daily Briefing

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With the failure of the supercommittee — tasked with cutting $1.2 trillion from the federal deficit — to strike a deal, Congress is back to square one.

David Hawkings, editor of the CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing, joined In Depth with Francis Rose to discuss where the legislative branch goes from here.

The supercommittee's negotiations sucked the oxygen out of Congress' normal budget-making process, Hawkings said.

"Congress was more or less holding its breath for the supercommittee to come up with a deal," Hawkings said.

So, during the months that the panel met, the work on annual spending bills languished. Of the dozen appropriations bills, Congress passed only three. Since the start of the fiscal year Oct. 1, Congress has also passed two stopgap funding measures in lieu of a full budget to keep the government running.

All of this means, Congress will likely be working well past the original date circled on its calendar.

"Now there's just a ton to do in — what they say is going to be — three weeks of work," Hawkings said. "I think with each passing hour, it looks like Congress will be at work beyond Dec. 16, which is their current target for going home, and they may even be around until Dec. 23,"