Sen. Carper Statement on Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction
WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) released the following statement on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction:
“To say that I’m disappointed is an understatement. The bipartisan panel of 12 of my House and Senate colleagues, informally known as the ‘Super Committee,’ had several months to put forward a plan to reduce our nation’s escalating deficits by at least $1.2 trillion. They had the chance to ‘go big’ and make real progress in reducing our long-term debt by even more than the $1.2 trillion threshold – an approach that has been my preference for some time now. And they had a good road map on how to get there with the work of the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform – co-chaired by former Republican Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming and President Clinton’s former Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles. Unfortunately, it appears that at the end of the day, our Republican friends were not able to agree to a balanced approach to this difficult problem. It is deeply disappointing that we weren’t able to compromise and do what’s right for the American people.
“It also means that Congress has once again, put off until tomorrow what we should have done months – even years –ago. Our struggle to get a handle on our federal debt isn’t going away anytime soon. That is why I’ve spent the last several months providing specific ideas for deficit reduction to my colleagues on the Super Committee and encouraging them to act boldly. First, we need a thoughtful and balanced approach to reining in federal spending, without abandoning those who need the help the most. Second, we have to fundamentally change the culture in which our federal government operates, shifting from a culture of spendthrift to a culture of thrift throughout the federal government. We need to look in every nook and cranny of the federal government and ask, ‘Is it possible to get a better result for less money?’ Enacting that change in culture has been, and remains, the central focus of my efforts in the Senate. Third, we need a sensible plan for raising revenues. One of the best ways we could have tackled our debt and increased our economic competitiveness is through comprehensive tax reform that would have closed expensive loopholes and expenditures, and asked for shared sacrifice to reduce our deficit. Comprehensive tax reform would have helped with the fourth critical ingredient to successful deficit reduction, which is to grow the heck out of the economy.
“Despite this latest setback I refuse to give up. Getting our debt and deficit under control is critical for the well-being of our nation and economy and I will continue to encourage my colleagues and President Obama to keep working to find an agreement on a robust, balanced, and effective deficit reduction package. I am also going to redouble my efforts to curb waste and fraud throughout the federal government. Those efforts are all the more important now that the Super Committee has failed. As we continue to look for ways to reduce our debt and deficit, we must also continue to invest in job training, education, infrastructure and new technologies to keep our nation competitive and to help more Americans get back to work.
“It is imperative that we in Congress work together, compromise, and govern effectively to make the best decisions for our nation. The American people want us to govern, not bicker, and I couldn’t agree more. As we move forward, I will continue to encourage my colleagues to rise above process and focus on sound policy. The American people are counting on us.”