Delegation weighs in on “super fail”

WASHINGTON – The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, also known as the super committee, is officially dead after the panel’s leaders announced today they would be unable to make a Nov. 23 deadline for offering Congress recommendations on $1.2 trillion in long term deficit reduction.

That sets the stage for possible automatic, across the board cuts of an equal amount that would kick in as of Jan.1, 2013.

The press releases from Minnesota’s House and Senate members responding to the super committee’s failure are coming in quickly and we’ll post them below as we receive them.

Rep. Betty McCollum (D) - “With families across America making tough choices every day, it appears Republicans in Congress can’t stop playing political games long enough to make some really difficult decisions for the future of the country. The Super Committee’s failure means automatic cuts of $1.2 trillion in domestic and defense spending are now triggered. Even though these will be difficult cuts, I am strongly opposed to Republican proposals to tamper with the sequestration to protect defense contractors and their lobbyists.”

Rep. Erik Paulsen (R) - “I’m extremely disappointed that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction was not able to agree on a way to address our spending-driven debt crisis, but the fact of the matter is that Washington is broken,” said Rep. Paulsen. “The American people deserve better than this. We need to remember that both parties created this mess; it’s going to take Republicans and Democrats working together to clean it up.”

Sen. Al Franken (D) - “I don’t think we’re going to be able to solve the country’s budget problems without a balance of spending cuts and new revenues.” said Sen. Franken.

“I think that Democrats put some painful cuts on the table and I’m thoroughly disappointed that Republicans haven’t been willing to meet us halfway. But as I’ve said from the beginning , no deal would be better than a bad deal because there’s an automatic mechanism in place to make budget cuts if there’s no deal. And that mechanism protects Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, programs that are vitally important to Minnesotans.”

Rep. John Kline (R) - “This summer, I expressed serious concerns about how a joint committee would operate and what proposals they would offer. My concerns were realized today as Americans were reminded, once again, how broken Washington has become.

“In recent weeks it has become abundantly clear that far too few of my colleagues in Washington are interested in forcing the federal government to live within its means. Whether it was refusing to support a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, ignoring the long overdue need for entitlement reform, or failing to provide framework for historic spending cuts, Washington has let down the American people. Too many in Washington think the only way to fix our debt crisis is a $1 trillion job-killing tax increase on American families and small businesses. We cannot exacerbate the jobs crisis by raising taxes and creating further economic uncertainty, and we cannot burden our children and grandchildren with an ever greater mountain of debt.”

Rep. Keith Ellison (D) (issued jointly with Rep. Raul Grijalva, who co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus with Ellison) - “Instead of focusing on jobs, which is the only way to grow our economy and fix the country’s deficit problems, we witnessed Republicans again refusing to compromise and putting their loyalty to lobbyists ahead of the American people. After manufacturing this crisis over the summer, Republicans insisted on protecting tax giveaways for millionaires and billionaires and eliminating the Medicare guarantee. Republicans seem more committed to protecting the one percent than to finding bipartisan solutions that create jobs.

“Last month, the Congressional Progressive Caucus submitted its recommendations to the Super Committee that would create jobs while protecting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Since the Supercommittee failed to produce a plan, we will introduce our own legislation that reduces the deficit by trillions of dollars and puts America back to work.

“The best way to eliminate the deficit is to get America working again. Americans want leaders who work for all of us, not just the top one percent.”

Rep. Tim Walz (D) – “Washington is broken. And we have to do something about it. Public officials and leaders in this country need to get their act together. Americans are understandably frustrated with the bickering and gridlock that has become a staple of the way Washington operates. It’s unacceptable. We need common sense, bipartisan reform – to restore confidence in honest, open and fair government. I asked the Super Committee to “go big” and find $4 trillion dollars in savings. I am disappointed they did not, but I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to reduce our debt. I will also continue fighting to get our economy back on track, get folks back to work and restore transparency and accountability to Washington through proposals like the STOCK Act.”

UPDATE

Rep. Chip Cravaack (R) - “It was my sincere hope that both sides of the aisle could have reached an agreement for the sake of the American people, and that this kind of political gridlock will not persist at the expense of our children, our men and women in uniform, and our national security.

“This is yet another outrageous failure by Washington to set aside partisan bickering for the well being of our great nation.

“I voted against the Budget Control Act’s establishment of the ‘supercommittee’ because it did nothing to solve our debt crisis and would lead to even more gridlock. My concerns sadly appear to have been justified with the shameless disintegration of this process into nothing but political finger-pointing.

“We must come together to identify common-sense solutions. I stand ready to work with any of my colleagues in Congress, regardless of party affiliation, to rein in our soaring national debt.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) (issued via her presidential campaign) - “Mr. President, your Super Committee has failed the American people. You were elected president to lead, not to ignore the problems of our country and our economy. While millions of Americans are out of work and government spending and debt are spiraling out of control, the president and the Super Committee could not reach an agreement on how to put our country back on a path to prosperity. The Committee itself is a metaphor for the overall lack of political courage that has led us to this place of crisis. Meanwhile, our nation is swiftly approaching the precipice of economic collapse and the president’s leadership was nowhere to be found.

“The Super Committee could not meet their statutory charge of reducing Congress’s planned increase in spending by a relatively paltry $1.2 trillion over 10 years and now have placed this country’s national security at risk through the consequences of triggering severe cuts to military funding, which Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently warned will be ‘devastating for the Department,’ and ‘these changes would break the faith with those who maintain our military and seriously damage readiness.’

“The people we serve want the president and Congress to announce a bold bipartisan deal to cut spending and do so without raising new taxes on American families or businesses. Cutting spending will necessitate hard choices, but throughout American history we have united behind a common purpose when the best interests of our children and nation were at stake. It’s time to lead.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) - “I have heard from countless Minnesotans who want their representatives to come together to reduce the deficit in a balanced way. I urged my colleagues to set aside partisan politics and do what’s right for families, businesses, and the fiscal health of our nation. We have to get this done and I will continue to support sensible efforts to get our fiscal house in order and give businesses the certainty they need in these tough economic times.”