Democrats react to Super Committee’s super fail
Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Majority Leader:
“The American people are tired of their elected leaders listening to the extreme voices in their party instead of the voices of reason. I am disappointed that Republicans never found the courage to ignore Tea Party extremists and millionaire lobbyists like Grover Norquist, and listen instead to the overwhelming majority of Americans – including the vast majority of Republicans – who want a balanced approach to deficit reduction. For the good of our country, Democrats were prepared to strike a grand bargain that would make painful cuts while asking millionaires to pay their fair share, and we put our willingness on paper. But Republicans never came close to meeting us halfway.
“Instead, Republicans relentlessly sought to end Medicare as we know it by privatizing the program and putting seniors and future generations at the mercy of insurance companies. In addition, Republicans insisted on expanding President Bush’s tax giveaways to millionaires, an approach that would have made our deficit problems bigger, not smaller, while increasing the gap between the top one percent of taxpayers and everyone else. Democrats are open to reforming our tax code, but we will not go along with efforts to provide even more giveaways to millionaires at the expense of the middle class.
“Make no mistake: we will achieve the more than $2 trillion in deficit reduction we agreed to in August. The sequester was designed to be painful, and it is. But that is the commitment to fiscal responsibility that both parties made to the American people. In the absence of a balanced plan that would reduce the deficit by at least as much, I will oppose any efforts to change or roll back the sequester.”
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), member of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction:
“I am very disappointed that the Joint Committee was unable to develop a plan to boost job growth and reduce the long-term deficit in a predictable, balanced way. This was a huge missed opportunity for the country.
“Many will portray this failure as the inevitable consequence of two partisan sides refusing to give ground. Blaming both sides equally will be the simple storyline and the path of least resistance. And it will be easy for people to deride any attempt to explain what happened as more partisan finger-pointing. That approach would be as easy as it would be wrong. It would ignore everyone’s responsibility to seek the facts and the truth. In the days ahead, I urge the public and the media to carefully review the facts and record about what prevented the Joint Committee from developing a sound and balanced plan. I look forward to that discussion.
“At this moment, however, I believe this is a sad day for the nation and an opportunity missed.”
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), member of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction:
“I’m deeply disappointed with this outcome. We all are. This was an historic moment to do something big, bold, and balanced that demanded shared sacrifice to put our country first. Everyone worked hard and everyone wanted success.
“It’s too easy just to say that Washington is broken or Congress is broken. But telling the truth about how we got here is the only way to ensure we put our country on the right course. These issues aren’t going away; in fact they are becoming more urgent.
“There is an enormous ideological divide in politics today, and today’s outcome underscores the rigidity and unwillingness of forces outside of Congress to allow for rational consensus.
“Democrats on the Committee made clear everything was on the table. Our offers were balanced. We walked the line of shared sacrifice, however difficult, and we proposed painful choices for programs we care about deeply.
“However, we simply could not overcome the Republican insistence on making tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans permanent. We would not give another $550 billion tax cut to the wealthiest. Shifting the tax burden to the middle class was not the way to reduce the deficit. This was simply doctrine for some of our Republican colleagues, even as many worked very hard in good faith to find a better way forward. I believe it would have been unconscionable to ask middle class Americans to finance more tax cuts for the wealthy while seniors on fixed incomes paid the price. People need to remember: The Committee was created to cut the deficit not to cut taxes for the wealthiest, the exact tax policies that didn’t create jobs and gave us deficits in the first place. The bottom line is that no Super Committee can succeed with Grover Norquist as its 13th member.
I believe this was a moment for American leadership, and from day one we urged the Committee to go big and reach the $4 trillion mark. Certain elements of the Republican Party were unwilling to put tax revenue on the table, and no deal without it can be fair.
“This challenge of deficit reduction remains. We still have a jobs deficit and growing budget deficit and now we have an even greater deficit of public trust in Americans’ belief that Congress can make adult decisions. It didn’t have to be this way. Perhaps the awful reality of across the board budget cuts in key priorities will finally sober everyone up. We must spend the next year figuring out how to arrive at a balanced and fair solution for our country.”
Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), member of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction:
“The path forward was clear. The elements of a balanced plan for job creation and deficit reduction were in front of us. Unfortunately, the Joint Select Committee has missed a huge opportunity.
This is not the outcome I had hoped for. The American people deserve a better deal than the looming automatic cuts to important federal services.
Yet, one truth has not changed: despite our differences, we must figure out how to get Americans back to work and our country back on track. For, in the end, it’s not about Republicans or Democrats, it’s about America and her families. So, tomorrow we pick up the pieces and go back to work.”
Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus:
“The failure of the Super Committee to reach a deal is huge missed opportunity for the nation because it was the clearest shot for Congress to address the number one issue facing American families: jobs.
“Democrats were prepared to reach a big, bold, balanced deal that would have reduced our deficit by getting the 14 million unemployed and 25 million underemployed Americans back to work; because we know that job creation equals deficit reduction.
“Unfortunately, it’s now clear that the Republican majority was never interested in listening to the cries of the public. From the beginning they refused to address jobs while insisting on extending billions in tax cuts for the wealthiest among us and demanding that seniors and working families shoulder the burden.
“With millions of Americans stuck in what one of my constituents called the ‘dark abyss of uncertainty’, for God’s sake, it’s time for Congress to buckle down and do something to get the nation back to work.”
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), co-chairs of the House Democratic Caucus Seniors Task Force:
“It is unfortunate that the Super Committee was unable to reach a fair, balanced agreement that could have achieved the dual purpose of cutting America’s deficit and creating new jobs. However, we applaud the Democratic members of the Super Committee for refusing to go along with the extreme Republican agenda of tax cuts for the rich and deep cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Throughout this process, Congressional Republicans continued to block progress by insisting that millionaires and billionaires deserve more tax breaks at the expense of 99% of all Americans – including senior citizens and their families. We, like the overwhelming majority of our constituents, believe that we cannot ask seniors to pay more for health care and long-term care or see cuts in their already modest Social Security benefits while the wealthiest among us are not asked to contribute.
Democrats were not willing to give in to Republican demands for a one-sided plan that would have sacrificed Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid so the wealthy can get more tax cuts. There are reasonable pathways to create jobs, protect our seniors and reduce the long-term deficit. It is regrettable Congressional Republicans refused to consider them.”
- WhatTheFolly.com: Super Committee fails to reach deficit reduction deal
- WhatTheFolly.com: Simple answers but difficult choices facing Super Committee
- WhatTheFolly.com: Discretionary spending will face third round of cuts if the Super Committee’s plan fails
- Democrats.Senate.gov: Reid statement on Joint Select Committee
- VanHollen.House.gov: Van Hollen statement on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction
- Kerry.Senate.gov: Kerry on debt panel outcome
- Becerra.House.gov: Rep. Becerra on missed opportunity of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction
- Dems.gov: Larson statement on failure of the Super Committee
- Dems.gov: Democratic Caucus Seniors Task Force Co-Chairs statement on Super Committee
Category: Congress, Current Events, Election 2012, Government, News, Politics, Social Services, Tax Dollars at Work, Tax Policies, Transcripts, U.S. · Tags: budget, Bush tax cuts, Chris Van Hollen, Congress, debt, debt ceiling, debt limit, deficit, Democrats, Doris Matsui, drastic budget cuts, economic recovery, federal budget, federal debt, federal deficit, federal spending, Fiscal Responsibility, government funding, government spending, Grover Norquist, Harry Reid, high deficits, Jan Schakowsky, John Kerry, John Larson, Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, Medicaid, Medicare, national debt, public debt, reduce deficit, Republican, seniors, Social Security, Super Committee, tax code, tax revenue, taxes, Tea Party, U.S., U.S. tax reform, United States, US Senate, Xavier Becerra