KEY POINTS: The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction
“The major driver of our long-term liabilities, everybody here knows, is Medicare and Medicaid and our health care spending. Nothing comes close.”
– President Barack Obama, January 29, 2010
After President Obama and a complicit Congress went on a reckless two-year spending spree, Republicans told the president that if he wanted our help to pay his bills, he had to cut up the credit cards. We told him that we had to stop spending money we don’t have for jobs we never get.
It’s disappointing that those same people now blame Republicans for trying to clean up their mess without more job-killing tax increases that would intensify the painful effects of the Obama economy on American families and small businesses.
The committee was created to help reverse the President’s spending and failed economic policies that brought us to $15 trillion in debt and persistent 9% unemployment: a painful debt and jobs crisis.
The Joint Select Committee was unable to reach agreement because President Obama and Washington Democrats insisted on dramatic tax hikes on American job creators, which would make our economy worse.
Republicans did everything in their power to fulfill both their statutory goal of $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction and, more importantly, to fulfill their statutory duty of solving our nation’s debt crisis and jobs crisis. Republicans negotiated in good faith until the deadline.
The President designed a political strategy that doomed the committee to failure first by insisting the committee include $450 billion of his failed stimulus policies in any agreement, making deficit reduction much harder and second by issuing a veto threat warning he would not accept an agreement that did not include a job-killing tax increase.
Democrats never offered a plan to solve what President Obama has called the single largest driver of debt crisis, our nation’s health care costs.
Not only did Democrats fail to offer a serious plan in the Joint Select Committee to seriously address our nation’s healthcare costs, according to Rep. James Clyburn on November 13, the six committee Democrats never agreed on any plan. It was difficult to negotiate with Democrats still negotiating with themselves.
Democrats insisted on job-killing tax increases that would intensify the painful effects of the Obama economy on the American people.
Republicans went “bigger” than Democrats and made multiple offers, including $3.9 trillion in deficit reduction to solve the crisis, a sensible $1.5 trillion plan, and even $600 billion of deficit reduction – all rejected by Democrats who refused to coalesce around a plan.
Republicans were willing to consider new tax revenue, as long as it was through pro-growth policies that make the tax code fairer, simpler and more competitive, which will help create more jobs.
Democrats never put a penny’s worth of reforms on the table that would slow the unsustainable growth of the drivers of the debt – government spending on health care -without insisting upon a $1 trillion tax increase, which would kill jobs.