US committee is unlikely to have agreed budget cut plan

A US government committee is expected to announce today that it has failed to come up with a plan to make a dent in Washington’s $15 trillion (£9.5 trillion) debt pile.

The congressional cross-party “super-committee” charged with finding $1.2 trillion in budget cuts over a decade is set to announce that it has failed to agree a package. The failure comes just three months after Republicans and Democrats agreed that the federal government could exceed its legally binding debt ceiling on the condition that a deal is struck by the committee this month.

Committee co-chair Jeb Hensarling, a Texas Republican, said: “We are waiting for the Democrats to put something on the table. If you don’t like the Republican plan... what is your plan to solve the crisis and ensure the committee does not fail in its duty?”

The lack of a deal could spook markets and trigger automatic “built-in” spending cuts that come into force from 2013, which would fall evenly on military spending and domestic cuts.

Efforts to strike a deal have been hampered by looming congressional elections next year, with each side reluctant to alienate voters by coming to a compromise.