Blue Dogs urge supercommittee members to forge bipartisan deal

Aug 12, 2011
In The News
By Vicki Needham

The Blue Dog Coalition is urging the newly formed congressional debt-reduction panel to work together toward a bipartisan agreement.

The group of fiscally conservative Democrats sent a letter to all 12 supercommittee members, pressing them to "pursue a balanced, bipartisan solution that will control our nation’s debt and ensure that the United States remains the leader in the world economy."

They cited Standard and Poor’s recent comments about that "political brinksmanship" was a primary reason fro the downgrade of the U.S. debt.

"We believe it is time for Congress to prove them wrong," the Blue Dogs wrote.

"As policy makers we have a clear choice in front of us: pursue a partisan approach that caters to the political extremes, or work together as Americans to put our nation’s fiscal house in order," they wrote.

"Therefore, we urge you to put politics aside and work across party lines to develop a fair and feasible path to fixing our long-term debt."

Lawmakers and interest groups have made several demands of the newly formed committee from tax reform to a focus on jobs.

On Thursday, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and 22 of his Democratic colleagues sent a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), arguing that job creation will reduce deficits and should play a central role in the committee's discussions.

Earlier this week, Rep. John Larson (Conn.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, wants to amend the recently passed debt-limit package to establish a joint select committee on job creation to operate alongside the already mandated Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.

The supercommittee’s recommendations must be reported out by Nov. 23 and voted up or down in the House and Senate by Dec. 23.

Failure by the panel or Congress to reduce the debt by $1.5 trillion will trigger $1.2 trillion in automatic budget cuts in 2013.

Those who signed the letter include Reps. Heath Shuler (N.C.), Blue Dog co-chairman, administration; John Barrow (Ga.), co-chairman, policy; Mike Ross (Ark.), co-chairman, communications; Dan Boren (Okla.), co-chairman, whip; Kurt Schrader (Ore.), chairman, Fiscal Task Force; Jim Cooper (Tenn.), vice-chairman, fiscal task force; and Dennis Cardoza (Calif.) and Jim Matheson (Utah).