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Letter to the White House and Congressional Leadership

Fourteen Senators Urge Swift Action on Nation's Fiscal Challenges

"Prompt action needed" regardless of today's Commission vote American people "deserve and demand" that we "pull together" to avert crisis

A group of 14 Senators today asked the White House and the bipartisan leadership of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to move forward to address the urgent fiscal challenges facing our nation regardless of the outcome of today's scheduled vote by members of the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Their joint letter was publicly released this morning as Commission members prepared to vote on bipartisan recommendations to reduce our nation's long-term debt by an estimated $4 trillion over the coming decade.

"The strong bipartisan support [the Commission's] recommendations have already received demonstrates we can, and must, come together to solve this impending fiscal crisis," the Senators say in their joint letter. "Every day that we fail to act, the choices become more difficult... There is no easy way out, and Washington must lead the way."

Senators signing the letter included Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Mark Begich (D-AK), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tom Carper(D-DE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Mark Udall (D-CO).

"While there are plenty of provisions in the Commission plan we do not support, our nation would be far better off with a comprehensive deficit reduction plan than without one," the letter states. "The [Commission's] report shows that we can stabilize our debt over the long term, while fostering our economic recovery now, improving our country's global competitiveness, and maintaining our commitment to protect the most vulnerable in our society."

"Prompt action is needed to bring the country's deficit into balance and stabilize our debt over the long term," the joint letter concludes. "Regardless of whether the Commission's report receives the support of at least 14 of its 18 members, we urge legislative action to address these problems.

"The American people deserve-and demand-that we pull together to avert this looming crisis."

Below is the text of the letter:

December 3, 2010

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Speaker Nancy Pelosi Minority Leader John Boehner
Office of the Speaker H-204, US Capitol
H-232, US Capitol Washington, DC 20515
Washington, DC 20515

Majority Leader Harry Reid Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
522 Hart Senate Office Building 361-A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510 Washington, DC 20510

Our growing national debt poses a dire threat to this nation's future. Ever since the economic downturn, Americans have had to make tough choices about how to make ends meet. Now it's time for leaders in Washington to do the same.

The report issued Wednesday by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is a courageous first step in tackling our national debt. The report shows in stark terms that solving the debt problem will require difficult choices. There is no easy way out, and Washington must lead the way. The strong bipartisan support its recommendations have already received demonstrates we can, and must, come together to solve this impending fiscal crisis. Every day that we fail to act the choices become more difficult.

We believe that now is the time to act. The situations in Ireland and Greece demonstrate that rising debt levels, left unchecked, can quickly and unpredictably force a country to take drastic austerity measures. If we don't choose to act now, we will be forced to act later with fewer and more painful options available to us.

While there are plenty of provisions in the Commission plan we do not support, our nation would be far better off with a comprehensive deficit reduction plan than without one. The report shows that we can stabilize our debt over the long term, while fostering our economic recovery now, improving our country's global competitiveness, and maintaining our commitment to protect the most vulnerable in our society. Specifically, we commend the Commission's efforts to:

-Protect our economic recovery by gradually phasing in deficit reduction and still allowing for critical investments;

-Fundamentally reform and simplify the tax code in a way that lowers rates for all taxpayers, increases progressivity, and improves the ability of businesses to compete in the global marketplace;

-Ensure that Social Security will be there to support seniors for at least 75 more years, while adding a new minimum benefit and further support for our oldest seniors and long-term disabled;

-Preserve and better target tax benefits that support home ownership and charitable giving; and,

-Further control the costs of health care.

Prompt action is needed to bring the country's deficit into balance and stabilize our debt over the long term. Regardless of whether the Commission's report receives the support of at least 14 of its 18 members, we urge legislative action to address these problems. The American people deserve-and demand-that we pull together to avert this looming crisis. Your leadership on this issue will be crucial to our success.


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