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From jobs plan to tax cuts, can deficit ‘super committee’ handle mission creep?

The bipartisan deficit 'super committee' is charged with finding $1.5 trillion in savings over 10 years. Can it find $450 billion more to fund Obama's jobs plan? Can it find $4 trillion? More?

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Just one week into its mandate to lop $1.5 trillion off federal spending over the next 10 years, Congress’s Joint Deficit Reduction Committee is already facing calls to do dramatically more.

This mission creep began with President Obama’s request last week for the panel to find offsets for his $450 billion jobs initiative – setting a new bar at nearly $2 trillion in net savings.

Then on Monday, budget watchdog groups, including the chairmen of Mr. Obama’s 2010 Bowles-Simpson deficit commission, called for the panel to “think big” and come up with at least $4 trillion in deficit reduction.

“The public cares rightfully about two huge issues: debt and jobs,” says Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, who joined Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson (R) of Wyoming in the call for a plan of broader scope.

But big cuts are not necessarily incompatible with job creation, she adds, so long as the overall package is large enough to include targeted spending on jobs. “The plan has to be smart, spread over a decade, with other pieces for growth that will actually create jobs,” she says.

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