MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — To avert a future debt ceiling and budget crisis, Congress has appointed a commission; a group of 12 to hammer out a deal the other 523 members of the House and Senate could not, and did not.

The “dirty dozen” debt commission, also known as the Super Committee, will have six Democrats and six Republicans. Their epic task is to cut $1.5 trillion from the budget. And the House and Senate get one vote: Up or Down.

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“What’s the goal?” asked former Minnesota Republican United State Senator David Durenberger.

Durenberger served in the U.S. Senate during the 1980s, during another deep recession and 17 debt ceiling debates.

He’s concerned the Super Committee is a fig leaf for a dysfunctional Congress.

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“The issues are defined as cut spending, cut taxes, get government off our back. Those kinds of things. Or this message we got from the electorate. This message — you know?” Durenberger said motioning both thumbs down.

The Super Committee will consider, and include, cuts to Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, defense spending and the war budget.
Liberal Democrats like Minnesota’s Keith Ellison are voting no. They say Congress should not hand off its power to a committee.

“These are core Democratic values,” said Ellison, the chairman of the House Progressive Caucus. “Actually, core American values to stand up for basic programs that help Americans be better off. ”

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The debt commission has until Thanksgiving to bring the budget cuts. If Congress votes them down, there will be a “trigger.” That means automatic, across the board cuts in most domestic spending programs except Medicare and Social Security.