WASHINGTON - Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) released the following statement in response to President Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform's draft proposal to rebalance the federal budget and reduce the deficit. Sen. Carper, joined by Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio), recently sent a letter to the bipartisan deficit commission urging the panel to consider adjusting the federal gas tax to cut the deficit, create jobs and repair crumbling transportation infrastructure as part of the commission's overall plan:
"I want to thank co-chairmen Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson for their tireless efforts to move the bipartisan work of the President's fiscal commission forward. They have been 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. The draft proposal that the co-chairmen have released today marks the beginning of a very important conversation that the President and Members of Congress must have with the American people. Over the next few weeks, the other members of the President's deficit commission will have time to thoughtfully debate and consider the merits of these proposals before sending their final recommendations to the President and to the Congress for our consideration.
"I was particularly encouraged to see that the co-chairs included a proposal to gradually adjust the federal gas tax by 15 cents to reduce the deficit, create jobs, and repair our crumbling transportation infrastructure. I suggested this idea to the commission, along with my colleague Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio), because America's transportation infrastructure is in dire need of repair. This proposal will address our transportation needs, create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and reduce the deficit. One of the clearest messages I heard from election night is that we in Washington need to do more to create jobs and reduce the deficit. The Carper-Voinovich proposal does both and ensures that America's economy will be rebuilt with a 21st century transportation system. This proposal is essential unless we want our transportation system to crumble and our fiscal situation to worsen.