Led by the Koch brothers and using the Tea Party as a front group, they succeeded in passing a bill that set up a Super Committee charged with drafting legislation by November 23 to slash $1.5 trillion from the federal budget.
If the Super Committee fails to produce a budget reduction plan or if the plan does not become law, spending will be lowered by $1.2 trillion, with $109.3 billion in cuts per year, half of which, $54.7 billion, comes from military spending and the other half from the rest of the budget. These cuts affect both mandatory and discretionary spending with proportionate cuts to both, but Social Security and Medicaid are protected while Medicare providers would see, at most, a two percent reduction in payments.
The dozen Super Committee members are the targets of countless corporate lobbyists and campaign donors working to protect defense contracts and industry subsidies while encouraging spending cuts and privatization for Food Stamps/SNAP, School Meals, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
In the last three months, the Farm Bureau and Biotech have spent $700,000 to influence the Super Committee and stave off cuts to direct payments for commodity producers (most are huge corporations growing Monsanto's genetically engineered crops) by gutting nutrition programs for hungry people.
The Super Committee process is designed to avoid votes like that. Congress will have to vote up or down on the debt reduction package without amendments or filibuster.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) has introduced legislation to do just that (H.R.3201). Here's her argument:
I firmly believe that Congress should be focused squarely on this nation's unemployment crisis. Since the Super Committee's single charge is to produce $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction-- which could include cuts to programs that create jobs --it must be promptly dismantled so that regular order can be restored and the federal government can fully dedicate itself to creating jobs and stimulating the economy. If not, unemployment will inevitably rise in all communities, in particular in communities of color.
Republicans refuse to negotiate on tax reform, and they remain immovable to making cuts in federal corporate welfare programs to the oil and gas, defense, and financial services industries. At the same time, however, they continue to propose steep cuts in: low income heating subsidies; community development block grants; Pell Grants; grad student loan subsidies; and health care affordability. Their entire agenda is predicated upon the destruction of the social safety net and the elimination of programs and federal assistance during a time when they are needed the most.
The committee is an illegitimate shell game which poor and middle class Americans will lose. It flies in the face of basic principles of fairness and transparency. How can 12 people decide the fate of millions Americans behind closed doors with little to no input from Congress or the average citizen? The Super Committee's final legislative product will receive an up or down vote in both bodies of Congress; however, Members will not be allowed to offer amendments. Therefore the 523 Members of the House and Senate who do not serve on the Super Committee will be excluded from having the opportunity to represent their constituents' interests in Super Committee's bill. The Tea Party has so rigged the law that regardless of whether the Super Committee fails or succeeds to meet its goal, it is likely that the end result will be draconian spending cuts to critical programs.
Republicans have completely hijacked the legislative process, and they have seized every opportunity to hold the most perfunctory of congressional business hostage for their radical agenda. The Republicans manufactured "Debt Ceiling Crisis" last July is the latest example of the lengths this relatively small group of lawmakers is willing to go to achieve irresponsible cuts. The formation of the Super Committee is merely another counterproductive tool the Republicans can exploit for the next "showdown" they are certain to stage, while doing nothing to create jobs.
Want to be inspired? Watch this VIDEO of a protester who interrupted a Super Committee hearing to walk forward and politely say:
The American people want to tax the rich and end the wars. That's how we fix the deficit. And all this obfuscation with percentages of GDP, this is just trying to confuse the issue. We would have enough money for housing and health care and everything that we want if we stopped spending our money on the military machine. It's very obvious. I speak for the 99 percent: End the wars and tax the rich.
Another group of Occupy Wall Street activists is marching from New York City to Washington, DC, to arrive on November 23, the day the Super Committee is scheduled to vote on their deficit reduction plan.
Occupy activists are holding Super Committee teach-ins and hearings of their own around the country. Activists in Washington, DC's Freedom Plaza held an Occupied Super Committee Hearing for the 99%.