WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) released the following statement in response to President Obama's bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform's vote on its plan to balance the federal budget and reduce the deficit. Sen. Carper, and Sen. George Voinovich's (R-Ohio) proposal to adjust the federal gas tax to cut the deficit, create jobs and repair crumbling transportation infrastructure was included in the commission's final plan:
"I want to first thank the members of the deficit commission and co-chairmen Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson for their tireless efforts to move the bipartisan work of the President's fiscal commission forward. They were charged with a critical task – to take a hard look at the federal government's spending and revenue and come up with specific proposals to bring our country's fiscal house back in order.
"Although the commission's plan wasn't formally adopted, the bipartisan support of the plan is very encouraging. Do I support each individual aspect of this plan? No. Of course not. All of us individually would have written a different plan to reduce our deficit and strengthen our economy. But we all can't have our way. Our nation's debt is growing and we must start making the tough choices to get our fiscal house in order. Tough choices such as a gradual adjustment of the federal gas tax by 15 cents over three years, which would address our costly and dire transportation needs, create hundreds of thousands of jobs and reduce the deficit. This is a thoughtful initiative that is similar to a plan that I, along with Sen. Voinovich, proposed to the commission last month.
"One of the clearest messages that I hear from my constituents is that we in Washington need to do more to create jobs and reduce the deficit. This commission's plan shows it is possible to do just that -- stabilizing our debt over the long term, while fostering our economic recovery now, improving our country's global competitiveness and maintaining our commitment to protect the most vulnerable in our society.
"Congress and the Administration must now take pragmatic and substantive action to reduce our national deficit. As we move forward, I am hopeful that my colleagues and I will have the courage to make the right decisions, not necessarily the easy or the popular decisions, to get our country back on the path of fiscal responsibility and prosperity. If we can do that, we will have served the American people well."