Statement on Deficit Super Committee

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mr. speaker, this week the joint select committee on deficit reduction began work on a road map to bring down our nation's deficit and restore our fiscal health. they heard from doug, the director of the congressional budget office, who reiterated once again what we already know -- our nation's current fiscal position is not sustainable. we also know that from the problem we're facing stems in part from buying things without paying for them. including two wars, tax cuts for the wealthiest in america and a prescription drug program. but what matters now is taking action. over the month of august we heard very clearly from the american public that they want us to work together on the issues they are most concerned about, jobs and the deficit. action on one issue will directly impact on the other. creating jobs and growing the economy is one of the most important things we can do to bring down the deficit. and getting a handle on our fiscal situation will give confidence to encourage economic growth and job creation. both the bowles-simpson supported this by calling for immediate action to boost the economy while laying out a plan to reduce the deficit over the long term. this is why the joint select committee must succeed. we have a responsibility to show americans and the international community that we can meet the challenges we face, that we can joint together to spur growth and to bring our debt under control. i believe the committee must go beyond the $1.5 trillion target in the deficit reduction bill. if we hope to strengthen our economy and seriously change our nation's fiscal outlook. over 60 economists and former members of congress signed a law encouraging the joint select committee to reach the biggest agreement possible, and i want to join with them in that request. in their letter signed by co-chairs of both the bowles-simpson and domenici-ripley commissions they said, quote, we believe that a go big approach that goes well beyond the $1.5 trillion deficit reduction goal that the committee has been charged with and includes major reforms of entitlement programs and the tax code is necessary to bring the debt down to manageable and sustainable levels. improve the long-term fiscal imbalance, reassure markets and restore americans' faith in the political system. closed quote. i am in absolute agreement with that proposition. as they indicate, they must put all options on the table. that's a challenge on the republican side, it's a challenge on the democratic side. but it must be done because we cannot get to where we need to get without doing so. the math is irrefutable. we cannot get to where we need to go if we ignore revenues or if we fail to ensure our safety net is sustainable for generations to come. a balanced approach that looks at defense spending, revenues and entitlements is the only real way we are going to put america's fiscal house back in order. a balanced approach is also key to making sure everyone pays their fair share. we cannot ask the middle-class families and seniors to bear the entire burden of balancing the budget. the most well-off among us which is most of us, by the way, in this body, must also contribute to that objective. but as we focus on ways to restore our budget balance, we cannot and must not forget the immediate jobs crisis that too many families face. any plan to bring down the deficit must start as bowles-simpson and domenici-rivlin both observed must start with getting people back to work. that is why i hope republicans and democrats will work together to bring the president's proposed american jobs act to the floor for a vote without delay. as the president said, we have 14 months to wait to the next election. people without jobs, people whose homes are underwater, people who lost their homes, they don't have 14 months to make. the jobs program suggested by the president mirrors many components included in the house democrats' make it in america agenda and will help create jobs in the short term. all of us, democrats and republicans alike, must be invested in the committee's success. i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to be committed to the success of reaching agreement in this committee of 12. this is a time to put partisan politics aside and do the hard things, very hard things, the courageous things that we have to do for our country. i believe we're equal to the task, and i say to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, if we are not equal to the task, then all of our citizens will rightfully be extraordinarily disappointed as they are today in their elected representatives on both sides of the aisle. success of this committee, success of this house and the senate in reaching and meeting the challenge that confronts us is essential if the confidence level of our own citizens and the international community is to be raised and given the level necessary for future success. . i yield back the balance of my time.