With just three weeks remaining before the deadline for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to establish a plan to reduce the nation’s budget deficit, Congressman Heath Shuler and Mike Simpson, Republican Representative of Idaho, led a bipartisan effort to send a letter to the committee urging members to consider all options when developing a plan.
Led by Shuler, the bipartisan letter was signed by 40 House Republicans and 60 House Democrats and encouraged the committee to consider additional revenue along with spending cuts as part of a deal to reduce deficits by $4 trillion over 10 years, instead of settling for the minimum requirement of $1.2 trillion.
“I am so proud of all of my colleagues who signed this letter for their courage to put country before political parties and do what is right for the fiscal future of our nation,” said Shuler. “Many believed the House could never come together to provide the real solutions and leadership our nation needs to get on a fiscally sustainable path. We are here today to show that we can. I applaud Representative Simpson for his hard work and steadfast determination to make this bipartisan effort successful. He is a visionary leader and true statesman, and we need more people like him in Congress.”
The Deficit Reduction Committtee was established in August after Congress developed procedures to increase the federal debt ceiling. The “supercommittee,” which is comprised of 12 members of Congress, six from the House of Representatives and six from the Senate, with each delegation evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, was charged with identifying ways of reducing federal deficits by at least $1.2 trillion over 10 years. Both houses of Congress are scheduled to vote on the recommendations by Dec. 23. If legislation to save at least $1.2 trillion is not enacted by January 2013, the President is directed to make up the difference by imposing cuts in the majority of military and civilian programs.
According to the letter, members of Congress encourage the supercommittee to work together to do whatever is necessary “To succeed, all options for mandatory and discretionary spending and revenues must be on the table,” reads the letter.
The bipartisan letter also noted the importance of the supercommittee’s obligation, “We write to you as a bipartisan group of representatives from across the political spectrum in the belief that the success of your committee is vital to our county’s future,” reads the letter.
“This letter is signed by conservative, moderate, and liberal members of the House, and while their political philosophies may differ, they all understand the urgency that our national debt crisis represents. They understand that the Super Committee represents our best, and possibly only, chance to make the real reforms needed to return our country to fiscal health,” said Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID). “I commend Representative Shuler for his tireless efforts to gather support for this letter. Heath understands that this is the time to act, and the respect he has among his colleagues and his ability to build consensus have made him a crucial partner in this important effort.”
Members of the supercommittee have reached a deadlock over whether tax increases should be part of a deficit-reduction deal, and may have to request an extension from Congress in the attempt to reach a final decision.