"No one should be surprised by this year's deficit, nor by the stubbornness of the economic recovery. History tells us that when a downturn is accompanied by severe damage to financial institutions, the recovery takes longer. Without a doubt, the Great Recession that President Obama inherited has taken its toll on economic growth and, thus, on the nation's balance sheet. While the Federal response, which began under the last administration, averted an even worse calamity, the depth of the recession and the slow recovery means the country has been unable to dig out of the large deficit hole that this administration faced when it came into office.
"Today's economy faces additional threats, such as the continuing crisis in Europe. While we can't dictate events overseas, we can act to address the pending sequester and the tax cuts that expire at year's end. Importantly, the solution must include a comprehensive and balanced long-term deficit reduction plan. That can only happen if both sides agree to move off their fixed positions. Republicans must yield on revenues, and Democrats must agree to entitlement changes. And it is important that the agreed upon plan be phased-in carefully so that the changes don't worsen the fragile economic recovery."