U.S. Rep. Tom Petri joined with 99 of his colleagues from both parties in the House of Representatives Wednesday to urge the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to "go big" in recommending deficit reductions well beyond the required minimum.
He said that such a package would be good for the United States and would restore the confidence of the American people and the international community in Congress' capacity to meet difficult challenges. Adding that to reach this goal, all options for deficit reduction must be on the table.
Commonly called the "Super Committee," the Joint Committee was established in August to issue a recommendation by Nov. 23 for at least $1.2 trillion in reduced deficits. If the committee fails to agree on a recommendation, or if Congress fails to approve legislation mandating the reductions, then $1.2 trillion of cuts over the next nine years will automatically go into effect. The committee is made up of six democrats and six republicans evenly split between members of the House and the Senate.
In a letter to the committee, the group wrote: "To succeed, all options for mandatory and discretionary spending and revenues must be on the table. In addition, we know from other bipartisan frameworks that a target of some $4 trillion in deficit reduction is necessary to stabilize our debt as a share of the economy and assure America's fiscal well-being."
Petri said, "Everyone knows that the way we are going is unsustainable. We've been spending a third more than we are taking in. A third of everything the federal government spends right now is borrowed on world markets, and at some point down the road there will be a day of reckoning if we don't start doing a better job of living within our means."
"I and my colleagues have urged the Super Committee to think big, to not just think about the politics of the situation but to think about the future of the country and doing our job now so that our children have the kind of prospects that we had when we were young, and that our parents gave to us," he said.