Deficit is a priority, but Congress can't agree on it - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Deficit is a priority, but Congress can't agree on it

WASHINGTON D.C. (CNN) - Congress says the deficit is one of their priorities. But no one can agree on just how to do it.

And that means, if nothing is done, more than a trillion dollars in spending cuts are coming, and coming soon.

The gloomy outlook in Washington on Tuesday is that the deficit super committee was doomed to fail.

Hours before Monday's midnight deadline, the 12-member bipartisan panel threw in the towel.

Democrats and republicans were unlikely to ever reach an agreement over tax cuts - in particular the Bush-era tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of 2012.

Since it failed to reach an agreement, $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts could go into effect in 2013.

That's not just inside the beltway fuzzy math. There are real-life consequences, including severe cuts to the Pentagon budget, Medicare, Medicaid.

Automatic cuts are likely to hit hardest among hospitals, which are the biggest recipients of medicare payments. But, there are programs exempt from spending cuts, including social security, medicaid, and food stamps.

Looking at the Pentagon, last year the US spent about $700 billion on defense--That's more than the next 17 nations combined.

The super committee failure triggers about 8 to 9 percent in automatic cuts for the defense department.

Which still means tough choices-- like canceling some weapons programs and reducing peacetime training missions.

Cutting 10% of the civilian workforce could save up to $7 billion a year.  

There is another possibility.

The automatic cuts, don't happen until 2013, so congress has a year to try and water them down.

Republicans say they will fight the automatic cuts to the defense budget. But President Obama said he will veto any efforts to undo them.

The president said all lawmakers should feel some pressure to get something done.

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