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In accordance with this summer’s debt deal, Congress’s 12-member super committee has been busy plugging away at the difficult task of creating long-term spending cuts for the United States. The formally titled Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is staring its November 23 deadline square in the face, with no word of an official plan yet.

A dozen Congress members have spent countless hours locked away in the Capitol, debating and arguing about which path to take in fixing the US budget to accommodate $1.2 trillion worth of spending cuts over the next 10 years.

When I say locked away, I mean it both literally and figuratively—as even when committee members leave the private meeting room, their lips seem to be sealed. The public has been given little information about the nature of the discussions and any details of progress being made.

Generally speaking, the debate centers around opposing Republicans and Democrats—the former strongly against raising taxes and the latter pushing to slash the deficit with both new taxes and spending cuts. Coming as no surprise to anyone with even slight exposure to the United States’ two-party politics, for most of the last few months, Republicans have been refusing to raise taxes, while Democrats have been demanding tax increases in order to even consider cuts to programs near and dear to their hearts, such as health care and Social Security.

However, within the past week, both parties have ceded some ground, apparently giving in to the reality that both tax revenue increases and program spending cuts are essential pieces to making a deal and to begin solving the deficit puzzle. Clearly, the super committee’s members are aware that neither side will be able to get everything it wants without some compromise, and the group is working on hashing out the details. However, that has not been enough to raise confidence for the American public, who can only be certain of one thing: the clock is ticking.

Both the Republicans and Democrats have made proposals, but no such plan has been agreed upon. Most recently, debate has centered on taxes. There has been talk that if agreement cannot be reached on writing a new tax code, we will likely see a delegation of the task to tax-writing committees in Congress, in accordance with a set of guidelines and instructions provided by the super committee. This would mean that the super committee would skirt the issue of raising taxes and only make a deal about revenue levels before November 23.

If a deal is reached by the November 23 deadline, Congress will then have one month to vote on the committee’s proposed package. However, if these deadlines are not met, a law put in place this past summer will take precedent, and automatic spending cuts will go into effect beginning in 2013, which involve cuts to both domestic and defense programs. With this in mind, it can certainly be said that it is in everyone’s interest to meet these deadlines, including President Obama who has publicly urged the committee to come to consensus on a deal. He also stated that if a deal is not reached, he will not allow legislation to evade the automatic spending cuts.

Beyond President Obama’s threat, there is the bigger threat that if the panel proves itself unable to come to consensus on an initiative, investors across the globe will be reminded of the lack of leadership shown by the US and a potential downgrade to the creditworthiness of the United States by the ratings agencies—and as we saw in August, a lack of confidence in government can be horrendous for the markets.

For this reason, we believe, or sincerely hope that the committee members and the rest of Congress understand the significance of this deal, even if much of it is symbolic for wary investors looking for solid ground, and that as a result, they will meet their deadline. It is unfortunate that such an important economic issue cannot be untangled from the web of politics, but we hope that it will take precedence in the end, and that to start off the New Year, we’ll have a plan in place to begin to tackle our country’s deficit.