"This year's deficit is a stark reminder of the Great Recession's lasting impact on the nation's balance sheet. We know from experience that a recovery from a financial crisis is shallower and takes longer than a recovery from a typical recession.
"Job number one for this administration was to stop the economic slide, and the government's response to the financial crisis did avert a depression. The steps taken in the closing months of the last administration, coupled with the proactive measures enacted by the Obama administration, not only stopped the economic slide, but set in motion economic growth. The fact is we're doing better than all of Europe and Japan, so the policies that were put in place are working.
"We still have a long way to go, as is the case in all recoveries from financial crises. Unfortunately, this recovery faces additional hurdles from Europe's recession to the pending sequester and the expiring Bush-era tax cuts. Congress must address the so-called "fiscal cliff" later this year to avoid disrupting the still-fragile recovery.
"Toward this effort, I continue to work with colleagues in crafting a bipartisan, comprehensive long-term deficit reduction plan. I believe a plan similar in size and scope to the one put forward by the Bowles-Simpson Fiscal Commission, on which I served, remains our best hope for addressing the nation's long-term fiscal challenge and returning the economy to prosperity."