GOP & Dem lawmakers urge Super Committee to ‘go big’ on deficit reduction plan
More than 100 Democratic and Republican lawmakers from the House and Senate urged the Super Committee to “go big” with a plan to reduce the deficit by at least $4 trillion. The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is required to submit a $1.2 to $1.5 trillion deficit reduction plan by Nov. 23. Members of the “Go Big” Coalition are pushing for deeper cuts because they fear the global market’s negative reaction to just a modest reduction of the nation’s $14 trillion debt.
Transcripts from the press conference earlier today:
Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho):
“Thank you all for coming this morning. We have here a bipartisan and bicameral group of legislators that have been dubbed the ‘Go Big’ Coalition that has been urging – as I’m sure you’re all aware – the Super Committee to ‘go big.’ We all believe that it needs to do that if we’re going to stabilize the debt in this country and start paying down our debt. We want to encourage the Super Committee, although there’s just a week left before they have to report, this is not rocket science – they can do this. They can go big and they can help us solve this problem. So we want them to know that there’s a bipartisan group of legislators on both sides of the aisle, on both ends of the Capitol, that want to work on this and want to make the tough votes that are necessary to get us out of the situation we are currently in.
“We’re going to have a few speakers this morning. I’m going to reserve my remarks because I have some other people that I’d like to have speak. So go ahead, Steny.”
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.):
“Mike Simpson has been my partner along with Heath Shuler and others and Peter Welch and others and Mark Warner and Saxby Chambliss. Saxby Chambliss happens to be my fraternity brother – we’re both Sigma Phi. We’ve been good friends.
“The public doesn’t believe that we have good friends across the aisle. That’s not accurate. Nor do they believe we can work across the aisle. We’re here today to say we must work across the aisle in both houses to get this country on the right track.
“Last year, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen said that ‘Our national debt is our biggest national security threat.’ That is why we all stand here on this podium – Republicans, Democrats, House members, Senate members.
“We must do something to start paying down the debt, and that something is in the hands of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.
“Two weeks ago, a number of us from the House – some 100 Democrats and Republicans – stood together to send the message that we want the Joint Select Committee to send us a deal that is big – about $4 trillion in deficit reduction and is accomplished through a balanced mix of reductions in mandatory expenditures and additional revenues.
“Mike Simpson said, when we had that press conference, ‘It cannot be done any other way.’
“Today we return and are joined by Senators from parties who share our concern about deficits and agree that committee members, for the sake of our country and its sound fiscal future, should recommend a package of cuts, revenues, and reforms consistent with the Bowles-Simpson, Domenici-Rivlin, and Gang of Six proposals.
“We have the greatest chance we’ve seen in a generation to strike a bold agreement that will move us forward on a sustainable fiscal path and spur economic recovery. To do so, of course as we’ve all seen, is not easy. We recognize the pressures the committee members are facing from multiple directions.
“But we want them to know that there is a large and significant number of us in both chambers who want such a deal and are ready to give it a fair shot. That is why we are standing together today – Democrats and Republicans united – to send a message of urgency and support. More than 100 of us in the House, split nearly evenly between parties, have already sent a letter to that effect.
“None of us – none of us – want to risk the immediate long-term effects of sequestration that it will bring if the committee fails to complete its task. Sequestration is not a worthwhile option. At risk is more than just the economic impact but also the trust the American people have in their government to solve the most pressing problems we face as a nation.
“I want to thank all my colleagues – Senate, House, Republicans, and Democrats. I want to thank all the House and Senate members who have come together to send this message that the seriousness of the debt challenge can only be met with an equally serious and bipartisan determination to do what needs to be done – to do what the American people expect of us.”
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.):
“Thanks, Steny. Let me just say to Heath Shuler and Mike Simpson as well as my good friend, Steny Hoyer, how much we appreciate their leadership and their willingness to step up and show their support along with all of our colleagues in the United States Senate who have committed to say to the Super Committee, ‘The right thing to do is to go big.’
“‘Go big’ may mean $3 trillion, it may mean $4 trillion, it may mean $5 trillion, it may mean $6 trillion to some people. But if we don’t get to that level of deficit reduction, then we are not showing to the world marketplace, to Americans, and to other people around the world who are watching closely what’s happening in United States Congress today and over the next week, that we are serious about this issue of the debt and the deficit, then we’re not going to send the right message.
“I’m very proud to stand here with these folks today and say, ‘Super Committee, we got your back. We support you.’ We look forward to working with you on whatever course you decide to take to make sure that we do the right thing for the American people as well as continue to show that America leads the financial free market. We’re going to be there to back you to make sure that that leadership continues.”
Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.):
“Incredible work has been done – the House working group through multiple leaderships of both Democrats and Republicans and what the Gang of Six has been able to work together. And now look at us. We have a substantial amount – over 150 members that may not all be here because of the room – but over 150 members of the United States House and Senate have come together to say, ‘We want to go big.’ Time is of the essence. We can’t kick the can down the road – that has been going on for a decade now. Now is the time, and they have the support of these members of Congress.
“This is the true statesmen and women before you. It’s not about their elections. It’s not about what’s on the horizon politically for themselves. This is about the American people, and this is about the next generation. We can’t turn our back on the next generation. We must lead this country better than we found it. And the way that’s going to be done is through working in a bipartisan way.”
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.):
“Failure can’t be an option. The whole rest of the world is watching. And the notion of what’s happening in Europe and their lack of stepping up, we can’t have the repeat of that here in this country. Whether we like it or not, this debt and deficit debate has become in effect a proxy for whether our democratic institutions are up for the job in the 21st century. I think you’re seeing behind us here a growing bipartisan group in both the House and the Senate that want to get the job done.”
Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.):
“The world is watching. We know that the economic future of our country and the world rests on the decisions that will be made in the next few days. This is a circumstance that requires us to work together. We know it’s tough but we know it’s been done. The Group of Six did it, Simpson-Bowles did it, Rivlin-Domenici did it, this group can do it. They need to know if they are bold, if they are brave, if they ‘go big,’ we will stand with them and the American people will stand with them.”
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho):
“You’ve heard the message, but there’s really three critical points to make here. We are here to support the Super Committee to make sure the Super Committee knows that we’ve got its back and that we will come together on a bipartisan basis to help America find a solution. Number two, the $4 trillion figure – the effort to ‘go big’ – is not just an arbitrary number. It’s what we’ve all learned is what we must do as a minimum to achieve the kind of fiscal reform in America that will help keep us the greatest nation and the greatest economy in the world. And to make sure that those on the Super Committee and those in the Congress and frankly that world markets know that we have the ability to develop a bipartisan solution and that we’re ready to back it.”
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.):
“In spite of our current impasse at the moment, we are here as a non-partisan group of Senators and Representatives to simply say, ‘It’s time to go bold. It’s time to get our nation’s fiscal house in order.’
“I’m convinced if our Super Committee – our Joint Committee- were able to achieve a substantial reduction in spending and the right types of reforms, this would unleash the power of our economy. Entrepreneurial confidence would increase. The United States would have to stop standing on the world’s door step, begging and borrowing from other countries.
“Nebraskans are interested in common sense solutions. They’re not interested in Washington’s dysfunction. It’s time to go bold. It’s time to be big. It’s time to get our nation’s fiscal house in order. Let’s get it done.”
Rep. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.):
“Most Americans, if they saw the scene behind me, would say, ‘I didn’t think that was possible. I didn’t think he could bring together so many Democrats and Republicans from the House and Senate to agree on anything let alone one of the most challenging issues that we have ever faced on Capitol Hill.’
“But it’s a fact. The men and women here today have taken a hard look at the challenge that faces the Super Committee and have said, ‘We stand behind you. We want you to succeed. We’ll do everything we can to help you, but we encourage you to be bolder in your mission, to look beyond the $1.2 trillion or $1.5 trillion to $4 trillion.’
“Going bigger is better in terms of the impact that it will have, that says to the world, ‘We get it.’
“We’re turning this economy in the right direction so that we can grow in a fashion that inspires confidence around the world.
“Going bigger is easier politically. Doesn’t sound right, does it? Sounds counter-intuitive. But when you start putting enough on the table that both political parties – House and Senate – realize that this is historic, it is worth the political risk, and if we stand together and lock arms together, we can achieve something as a group which no single individual can achieve.
“I hope that we will keep what we have in mind here moving forward. First with the Super Committee, we wish them well. But beyond that, we take this challenge, which faced the Bowles-Simpson commission, the Gang of Six, Domenici-Rivlin and others, accept it as the challenge of our political generation. This is our chance to step up and make a difference. There may not be another chance. There may not be an issue of such gravity and magnitude, at least on the domestic side, that any Congress has faced in modern times. This is our moment. Let’s seize that moment, and working together, let’s succeed for the good of this nation.”
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.):
“This is about more than money. It’s about whether the president and the Congress can competently govern, about whether we can face up to the biggest problem facing our country and working together can we solve that problem? Of course, we can. We already had three bipartisan groups that laid out a framework. We now have Republicans who put revenues on the table. We have Democrats on the Super Committee who have entitlements on the table. Both need to put more on the table and get a result. We’re here to support them.”
Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.):
“You know, there’s something in this for everybody. I’m a progressive Democrat. I believe strongly in the importance of Medicare. Those of us who believe in Medicare have to take the lead in making sure it’s sustainable. This ‘go big, go bold’ effort is the best way, where everything is on the table, that we can make the tough decisions that will mean that folks who are counting on Medicare, folks who are counting on Medicaid will have it. Revenues are on the table. Social insurance programs are on the table. There are sensible reforms that we can make – and will make – by working together and it will be done much more easily if we go big and go bold.”
Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.):
“For me, it comes down to one word: confidence. We’re all standing here today because we want the Super Committee to have the confidence that we’re here to support them. We’re here to urge them to do the big and bold things this country expects. It’s also about the confidence through our representation that America is expecting all of us to work together. We need to instill that confidence that we are not broken, we’re not completely dysfunction, that we can work together. Lastly, it’s to instill confidence not only domestically but throughout the world – internationally – that we can control our debt, that we understand we have a crisis but we have answer to this and solutions. By working together with the best and brightest minds, America can still do anything.”
- Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction’s website
- C-Span.org: Lawmakers urge Super Committee to “go big”
- Rep. Mike Simpson’s website
- Rep. Steny Hoyer’s website
- Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ website
- Rep. Heath Shuler’s website
- Sen. Mark Warner’s website
- Sen. Kent Conrad’s website
- Sen. Mike Crapo’s website
- Rep. Jeff Fortenberry’s website
- Sen. Dick Durbin’s website
- Sen. Lamar Alexander’s website
- Rep. Peter Welch’s website
- Rep. Michael Grimm’s website
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