U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement on the failure of the super committee to reach a long-term deficit reduction agreement:
"The failure of the super committee means it is time for the real committee -- Congress -- to act. Congress cannot delegate hard decisions any longer. Doing nothing will lead to the outcome both sides fear -- massive tax increases and the shredding of the social safety net. If we don't make these decisions ourselves the international financial community will dictate the solutions to us, which is exactly what we are seeing in Europe today. "
"Many will blame special interest groups for the super committee's failure to act. Yet, this is a convenient alibi for politicians who don't want to make tough choices and would rather blame some else for their failures of imagination and courage. The fact is special interest groups have no power other than the power career politicians give them. We tie our own hands; no one ties them for us. For instance, I've shown, along with Senator Pat Toomey, that tax lobbyists do not control elected members of Congress."
"Plus, we should make no mistake that the measure of our seriousness is the measure of our willingness to reform entitlement programs. As President Obama said last year, "The major driver of our long-term liabilities, everybody here knows, is Medicare and Medicaid and our health care spending. Nothing comes close. That's going to be what our children have to worry about.'"
"While today's news is disappointing I'm hopeful for a couple of reasons. First, all of the problems before us can be solved. I have detailed $9 trillion in savings that can be achieved through reforming entitlements, simplifying the tax code and ending unnecessary and duplicative spending. I'm confident a plan that would reduce our deficit by half that amount $4-5 trillion -- and included revenue increases and entitlement reform -- would pass the Senate with 80 votes. The fact that such a plan has not already passed the Senate is a failure of the majority more than the super committee."
"Members of Congress can make decisions today to eliminate duplicative programs, cut wasteful spending, end expiring tax earmarks and stop supporting policies that are just plain stupid -- such as delivering welfare to the wealthy through tax giveaways and unemployment payments to millionaires. What we lack is courage, not options for savings."
"Second, I'm hopeful because the American people want real change. They want to be treated like adults and hear competing proposals that solve the problems before us. The people who are afraid of hard choices are members of Congress, not individual Americans, which is why Congress has a 9 percent approval rating. Everywhere I go individual Americans, particularly seniors and grandparents, are willing to make tough decisions and give up a little of what politicians promised -- but spent -- in order to preserve freedom for future generations. If members of Congress decide to act and let go of our make-believe limitations we will find the American people are already where we are so afraid to go."