Republicans blame Democrats for Super Committee’s failure
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader:
“For those of us who hoped that this committee could make some of the tough decisions President Obama continues to avoid, the Democrats’ rejection of not one but two good-faith Republican proposals is deeply disappointing. The good news is that even without an agreement, $1.2 trillion will still be cut from the deficit. Now it falls on the President to ensure that the defense cuts he insisted upon do not undermine national security, as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has warned.
“With this administration’s out-of-control federal spending over the past three years, unemployment stuck at 9 percent, and a $15 trillion debt which grows daily, we felt it was necessary to create this extraordinary mechanism to reduce spending and make needed changes. Republicans viewed this committee as a golden opportunity to change the direction of the nation’s fiscal trajectory and create a better environment for job growth. This was reflected in the seriousness of our appointees, and it was reflected in two Republican proposals that were designed to attract Democratic support.
“While Democrats insisted on a trillion-dollar tax hike and hundreds of billions of dollars in new stimulus spending, Republicans focused on pro-growth tax reform, protecting Medicare and Medicaid, and reducing Washington spending. Crucially, Republicans also proposed reducing government benefits to the wealthiest Americans. In our view, the best way to ensure that Washington doesn’t waste more taxpayer money is to give less of it away to those who don’t need it–not to take more from taxpayers and hope for the best. If Democrats were more concerned about the deficit than in making government bigger, they would embrace proposals like this, too.
“In the end, an agreement proved impossible not because Republicans were unwilling to compromise, but because Democrats would not accept any proposal that did not expand the size and scope of government or punish job creators. This fact was underscored in the final hours of negotiations by their refusal to accept even a basic package of spending cuts and revenue that they had already agreed to during previous debt-limit negotiations—unless they were accompanied by a tax hike on the very people Americans are counting on to create the jobs we desperately need. Not even a proposal to get rid of a tax deduction for corporate jet owners, something Democrats had previously eyed as a major prize, was enough to move them off their puzzling insistence on taxing job creators in the middle of a jobs crisis.
“While we’ll still reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion, much more needs to be done. And we’ll continue our efforts to reduce the size of Washington, reform and protect the entitlement system for future generations, and create a better environment for job growth.”
Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), Speaker of the House of Representatives:
“While I am disappointed, the House will forge ahead with the commitments we have made to reducing government spending and removing barriers standing in the way of private-sector job creation. Doing otherwise is not an option. This process did not end in the desired outcome, but it did bring our enormous fiscal challenges into greater focus. I am confident the work done by this committee will play a role in the solution we must eventually find as a nation.”
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), member of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction:
“The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction had an extraordinary opportunity to pass legislation that would have generated millions of jobs through a reformed tax system and put our government on a path to fiscal sanity by cutting spending. Unfortunately, this opportunity has been wasted.
“I am saddened and disappointed that we were unable to meet our goal when so many Americans were counting on us. My Republican colleagues and I proposed a compromise that offered the other side revenue as they demanded. This plan was even hailed by the second highest ranking Democrat in the Senate as a ‘breakthrough.’ Like the proposals offered by other bipartisan commissions, our proposal offered a mix of spending cuts, revenue, and job-creating tax reform that would have lowered tax rates for all Americans and reduced our deficit by $1.2 trillion. Unfortunately, our Democratic colleagues refused to agree to any meaningful deficit reduction without $1 trillion in job-crushing tax increases.”
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), member of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction:
“I am deeply disappointed that the Joint Select Committee could not come to an agreement on the best way to reach $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next ten years. This was the chance to begin to seriously address our record debt and deficits, give the economy a shot in the arm and help regain some confidence in our representative government.
“I believe Republicans worked in good faith to find common ground, including offering new revenue as part of an agreement that included pro-growth tax reform, avoiding the risk of a massive tax increase a year from now, and significant reforms to help sustain our important entitlement programs. While Democrats agreed that reforms need to be made to entitlement programs, they only offered such changes in exchange for over a trillion dollars in tax increases and more stimulus spending.
“It was unfortunate that President Obama was absent during these negotiations. Instead, he made the job even harder by insisting the Select Committee pay for his new spending programs and by issuing a veto threat if the Select Committee didn’t follow the guidelines he set out.
“We failed to reach agreement because, despite good intentions on both sides, we simply couldn’t bridge fundamental policy differences that reflect a broader disagreement in the Congress and country as a whole over the size and scope of government.
“With a record debt of $15 trillion and a projected debt increase over the next 10 years of between $6 and $10 trillion more, Washington continues to promise more than the nation can afford. While I am deeply frustrated by the outcome and believe both sides will regret this lost opportunity, I will continue to fight for spending reforms and pro-jobs policies to address our fiscal crisis and get the economy moving.”
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), member of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction:
“I spent the last three months as one of 12 members who faced steep odds to find agreement, but who shared an understanding that our fiscal challenges cannot be ignored. I am bitterly disappointed that we were not able to find enough common ground to deliver the deficit reduction choices that Congress needs to make, but I am not deterred in my commitment to keep at it. Differences continue to divide us, but focusing solely on those differences serves no one. Instead of listening to the naysayers, I will continue listening to the people I serve: the folks in Michigan who have faced nearly three years of double-digit unemployment rates, but who persevere in seeking an economic comeback; the constituents who called, wrote, and spoke to me, sharing their hope for our success and their continued belief that leaders can come together for the country. They’re looking for solutions, and we’re going to keep working to deliver.
“America’s fiscal challenges did not appear overnight, and finding solutions will take time and require tough choices. No member of the Joint Select Committee planned for this process to conclude with automatic spending cuts rather than an agreement to cut more, but Congress included automatic cuts in the law to make certain that, at the end of the day, we achieved an initial deficit reduction goal. Members on both sides of the aisle and the President of the United States need to recognize that our work to get our economy back on track is far from over.
“Too many people in Michigan and across the country are looking for work because job creators lack the certainty and economic confidence to grow and create jobs. Congress needs to tighten government’s belt just as families have had to tighten theirs. We need to reform the tax code so the American people aren’t left feeling like the system is stacked against them, with special benefits and loopholes for those who can afford to find them and everyone facing a massive tax hike that will squeeze middle class family budgets and stifle economic recovery. As chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, my focus is on the rapidly rising cost of health care that is driving our long-term spending growth. We can and must address each of these challenges. We can and must keep the focus on job creation and economic recovery.”
- 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
- Boehner.House.gov: Statement by Congressman Boehner on the announcement by Joint Select Committee Co-Chairs Jeb Hensarling and Patty Murray
- McConnell.Senate.gov: Republican leader: Despite lack of an agreement, $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction will happen
- Toomey.Senate.gov: Sen. Toomey issues statement on Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction
- Portman.Senate.gov: Portman statement on deficit reduction committee
- Upton.House.gov: Upton statement on Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction
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