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Public Statements

Statement on Debt Panel Outcome

Issue Position

Location: Washington, DC

Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) today made the following statement after an announcement by co-chairs Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R- Texas) that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction was unable to reach an agreement on a plan to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion:

"I'm deeply disappointed with this outcome. We all are. This was an historic moment to do something big, bold, and balanced that demanded shared sacrifice to put our country first. Everyone worked hard and everyone wanted success.

"It's too easy just to say that Washington is broken or Congress is broken. But telling the truth about how we got here is the only way to ensure we put our country on the right course. These issues aren't going away; in fact they are becoming more urgent.

"There is an enormous ideological divide in politics today, and today's outcome underscores the rigidity and unwillingness of forces outside of Congress to allow for rational consensus.

"Democrats on the Committee made clear everything was on the table. Our offers were balanced. We walked the line of shared sacrifice, however difficult, and we proposed painful choices for programs we care about deeply.

"However, we simply could not overcome the Republican insistence on making tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans permanent. We would not give another $550 billion tax cut to the wealthiest. Shifting the tax burden to the middle class was not the way to reduce the deficit. This was simply doctrine for some of our Republican colleagues, even as many worked very hard in good faith to find a better way forward. I believe it would have been unconscionable to ask middle class Americans to finance more tax cuts for the wealthy while seniors on fixed incomes paid the price. People need to remember: The Committee was created to cut the deficit not to cut taxes for the wealthiest, the exact tax policies that didn't create jobs and gave us deficits in the first place. The bottom line is that no Super Committee can succeed with Grover Norquist as its 13th member.

I believe this was a moment for American leadership, and from day one we urged the Committee to go big and reach the $4 trillion mark. Certain elements of the Republican Party were unwilling to put tax revenue on the table, and no deal without it can be fair.

"This challenge of deficit reduction remains. We still have a jobs deficit and growing budget deficit and now we have an even greater deficit of public trust in Americans' belief that Congress can make adult decisions. It didn't have to be this way. Perhaps the awful reality of across the board budget cuts in key priorities will finally sober everyone up. We must spend the next year figuring out how to arrive at a balanced and fair solution for our country."

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