A bipartisan coalition of 37 U.S. Senators announced today that they will encourage and support the members of the congressional "super committee" in efforts to seek the broadest possible bipartisan agreement to address the nation's deficits and debt.
As part of the August compromise on raising the debt ceiling, a bipartisan, bicameral 12-member panel was appointed to identify $1.5 trillion in budget savings over ten years in addition to the nearly $1 trillion in savings included in the debt ceiling legislation. However, the Bipartisan Policy Center's Debt Reduction Task Force ("Domenici-Rivlin"), the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform ("Simpson-Bowles"), and the Senate's own "Gang of Six" independently concluded that any meaningful and comprehensive solution should achieve at least $4 trillion in debt reduction if it is to reassure the financial markets, restore public confidence and create the foundation for long-term economic growth.
The bipartisan group of 37 senators, representing more than one-third of the members of the U.S. Senate, agreed to the following statement of principles, which will be shared with members of the Joint Special Committee:
"As a bipartisan group of Senators, we will encourage and support the Super Committee in fulfilling its mission. We are here to support a deficit reduction package consistent with the following principles that should:
* Include enough deficit reduction to stabilize the debt as a share of the economy, and put the debt on a downward path, and provide fiscal certainty. We believe a reasonable target is at least $4 trillion, including previously enacted deficit measures. This will send the right message to the financial markets.
* Use the established, bipartisan debt and deficit reduction frameworks as a starting point for discussions.
* Focus on the major parts of the budget and include long-term entitlement reforms and pro-growth tax reform.
* Be structured to grow the economy in the short, medium and long-term.
* Work to include the American public and the business community in a broader discussion about the breadth of the issues, challenges and opportunities facing us."
The 37 participants include the following members of the U.S. Senate:
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK), Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN), Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE), Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Amy Klobuchar (MN), John Hoeven (ND),