FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — A congressional super committee should "go big" and strive to cut $4 trillion in the federal deficit, more than triple its mandate, says a bipartisan group of legislators that includes U.S. Rep. Jim Himes.
Himes, D-4th District, is among 100 members of the U.S. House who released a letter Wednesday urging the Congressional Joint Deficit Reduction Super Committee to go beyond its $1.2 trillion mandated cut.
“I am proud to work with my colleagues in a bipartisan way to show we have the political courage to tackle our nation’s growing deficit,” Himes said. “I hope this letter along with the growing support in the Senate and from outside groups alike will result in decisive, bold recommendations from the super committee.” The letter was also signed by U.S. Rep. John Larson, D-1st District, another member of the Connecticut delegation.
The letter was signed by a nearly equal proportion of Republicans and Democrats and urges “all options for mandatory and discretionary spending and revenue” be considered. The effort is a result of the work of a small bipartisan group of members, including Himes, who has been meeting for months with House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland and U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho.
The 100 representatives who signed the letter join a growing group of lawmakers, business leaders, former government officials and experts calling on the super committee to exceed its mandate and embrace comprehensive fiscal reform.
“This is a huge step forward for bipartisanship in Congress and makes the road to reaching an agreement on debt reduction all the more possible,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “Controlling our rising debt demands a bipartisan solution from both chambers of Congress – and the White House – to put a plan in place, to make it stick, and to ultimately restore confidence in the United States. And these brave lawmakers are working to do just that.”
Here is the text of the letter signed by Himes and the bipartisan group to Rep. Jeb Hensarling and Sen. Patty Murray, co-chairs of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit reduction:
Dear Congressman Hensarling, Senator Murray, and Members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction,
We write to you as a bipartisan group of representatives from across the political spectrum in the belief that the success of your committee is vital to our country’s future. We know that many in Washington and around the country do not believe we in the Congress and those within your committee can successfully meet this challenge. We believe that we can and we must.
To succeed, all options for mandatory and discretionary spending and revenues must be on the table. In addition, we know from other bipartisan frameworks that a target of some $4 trillion in deficit reduction is necessary to stabilize our debt as a share of the economy and assure America’s fiscal well-being.
Our country needs our honest, bipartisan judgment and our political courage. Your committee has been given a unique opportunity and authority to act. We are prepared to support you in this effort.