Today U.S. Representative Heath Shuler joined fellow leaders of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition to send a letter to the members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or "Super Committee," advocating that Republicans and Democrats work together to achieve a balanced, bipartisan solution that cuts the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years.
"People in Western North Carolina and across the country have sent a clear message to Congress: put aside the partisan bickering and get something accomplished," said Rep. Shuler. "The members of the "Super Committee' have a rare opportunity to do just that by working together to produce a long-term plan that will reduce the deficit and put stability back in the economy. Now is the time for Congress to stop thinking about the 2012 elections and start doing what's right for the American people."
The 12-member bipartisan, bicameral "Super Committee" was created by the Budget Control Act of 2011 and tasked with identifying a minimum of $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions before the end of this year. The letter from the Blue Dog Coalition urges the Super Committee to go even further and cut the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 years.
"Trimming $1.2 trillion from the deficit is an important first step, but we must go bigger and bolder to achieve long-term fiscal stability," said Rep. Shuler. "The best deficit reduction plans out there, including the Blue Dog Benchmarks of Fiscal Reform, would cut the deficit by $4 billion over 10 years, stabilize the debt, reduce the size of government, and bring long-term certainty to the economy. I urge the Super Committee to take a serious look at these proposals as they move forward."
See below for the full text of the letter:
September 14, 2011
Dear Members of Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction:
On August 11, 2011, we sent a letter to every member of the Committee, urging you to work with your colleagues to achieve a balanced, bipartisan solution that will ensure the United States remains the world's leading economy.
We have spent the past month with our constituents back home. As Blue Dogs, we represent diverse districts that span the country, yet we heard one consistent message: quit the partisan bickering and get something accomplished.
Congress and the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction have a rare opportunity to put our fiscal house in order at a time when the public is paying close attention to our deficits and debt. Leaders of both parties will urge you to retreat to the stale party positions and talking points. Political operatives, with an eye toward November 2012, will turn this into a battle of Democrats versus Republicans.
Now is the time to take a time-out from the 2012 elections, put party affiliations aside, and work together for the sake of our country's future.
The Budget Control Act of 2011 charged you to find $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions, but we urge you to think bigger and bolder. We believe that the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction should report a plan to Congress that would truly stabilize the debt as a share of the economy, and cut the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 years.
The roadmaps to achieve this goal are plentiful and bipartisan. In March, the Blue Dog Coalition outlined the "Blue Dog Benchmarks of Fiscal Reform," which would cut the deficit by $4 trillion over ten years, stabilize the debt, and reduce the size of government. These benchmarks were based on the Fiscal Commission Report, but there are other large, bipartisan plans that achieve the same goals. The ideas are out there. Now we just need to prove that Congress has the political will.
We are heartened by the tone and optimism of your opening statements at the first official Joint Committee meeting. We stand willing to work with you to achieve big results for the future of our country.
Rep. Heath Shuler, Co-chair, Administration
Rep. John Barrow, Co-chair, Policy
Rep. Mike Ross, Co-chair, Communications
Rep. Dan Boren, Co-chair, Whip
Rep. Kurt Schrader, Chair, Fiscal Task Force
Rep. Jim Cooper, Vice-chair, Fiscal Task Force
Rep. Dennis Cardoza
Rep. Jim Matheson