Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-OR) joined fellow members of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition in releasing a letter urging the “supercommittee” to find a bipartisan way to cut at least $4 trillion over the next 10 years.
“If you do what you have been legislated to do it is not going to be enough. You have to go big to be able to balance the budget, avoid further downgrading of our credit, and put our nation back on a path of fiscal responsibility,” Schrader said in a press conference. “We must talk about the big cost drivers. Our tax system is a mess and our entitlement systems are in grave danger. The discussion has to go further than discretionary spending.”
Schrader went on to reiterate the need for the current Congress to send a confidence message to businesses in order to get them off the sidelines and investing in job creation. Stabilizing and bolstering America’s economic future, Schrader believes, is the first and most important step in sending that message.
Following is the text of the letter sent from the Blue Dog Coalition to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.
Dear Members of Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction:
On August 11, 2011, we sent a letter to every member of the Committee, urging you to work with your colleagues to achieve a balanced, bipartisan solution that will ensure the United States remains the world’s leading economy.
We have spent the past month with our constituents back home. As Blue Dogs, we represent diverse districts that span the country, yet we heard one consistent message: quit the partisan bickering and get something accomplished.
Congress and the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction have a rare opportunity to put our fiscal house in order at a time when the public is paying close attention to our deficits and debt. Leaders of both parties will urge you to retreat to the stale party positions and talking points. Political operatives, with an eye toward November 2012, will turn this into a battle of Democrats versus Republicans. Now is the time to take a time-out from the 2012 elections, put party affiliations aside, and work together for the sake of our country’s future.
The Budget Control Act of 2011 charged you to find $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions, but we urge you to think bigger and bolder. We believe that the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction should report a plan to Congress that would truly stabilize the debt as a share of the economy, and cut the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 years.
The roadmaps to achieve this goal are plentiful and bipartisan. In March, the Blue Dog Coalition outlined the “Blue Dog Benchmarks of Fiscal Reform,” which would cut the deficit by $4 trillion over ten years, stabilize the debt, and reduce the size of government. These benchmarks were based on the Fiscal Commission Report, but there are other large, bipartisan plans that achieve the same goals. The ideas are out there. Now we just need to prove that Congress has the political will.
We are heartened by the tone and optimism of your opening statements at the first official Joint Committee meeting. We stand willing to work with you to achieve big results for the future of our country.
Rep. Heath Shuler, Co-chair, Administration
Rep. John Barrow, Co-chair, Policy
Rep. Mike Ross, Co-chair, Communications
Rep. Dan Boren, Co-chair, Whip
Rep. Kurt Schrader, Chair, Fiscal Task Force
Rep. Jim Cooper, Vice-chair, Fiscal Task Force
Rep. Dennis Cardoza
Rep. Jim Matheson