Lawmakers Reach Across the Aisle, and Houses, to Support Go Big

A group of legislators today staged a rare bipartisan, bicameral show of strength to support the Super Committee and encourage it to “Go Big.” At a Capitol Hill press conference, dozens of senators and representatives from each party united to promote a comprehensive solution now.

We have the greatest chance we’ve seen in a generation to strike a bold agreement that will move us forward on a sustainable fiscal path and spur economic recovery.” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD)

Members of Congress participating in the event were mainly drawn from signatories of the recent bipartisan letters from 100 representatives and 45 senators urging the Super Committee to “Go Big” and recommend a comprehensive fiscal solution with everything on the table. As Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC) exclaimed, “Over 150 members of the House and Senate have come together to say we want to go big.”

There were three main themes at the press conference.

  1. A large group legislators in each chamber supports the Super Committee and will back them up if they come up with a comprehensive deal.
  2. A “Go Big” approach is the best solution and will make it easier to reach an agreement.
  3. This is a key moment to prove that government institutions are capable of dealing with the critical challenges facing the country and a tremendous opportunity to enact a plan that will boost the economy.

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) kicked off the event by stating that he wanted the Super Committee to know that there is a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers willing to support them and make the “tough votes” that will be necessary, a sentiment that was echoed by many.

Super Committee, we got your back. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) followed, mentioning the House letter and emphasizing that lawmakers must work together to put the country on the right fiscal track. Hoyer said that a package along the lines of Bowles-Simpson, Domenici-Rivlin or the Gang of Six should be recommended by the Super Committee “for the sake of our country and its fiscal future.” Hoyer also mentioned that no one there wanted to risk the sequestration that would be triggered if the Super Committee failed.

Going bigger is better in terms of the impact it will have that says to the world ‘we got it, we’re turning this economy in the right direction so that we can grow in a fashion that inspires confidence around the world.’ And going bigger is easier politically. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL)

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) told the members of the Super Committee that “we got your back,” succinctly encapsulating the views his colleagues. Another widely shared view expressed by Chambliss was that “the right thing to do is go big.” Chambliss was later reaffirmed by Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) who stated that members of the Super Committee “need to know that if they are bold, if they are brave, if they go big, we will stand with them and the American people will stand with them.” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) also remarked, “we stand behind you, we want you to succeed, we will do everything we can to help you, but we encourage you to be bolder in your mission, to look beyond the $1.2 trillion or $1.5 trillion, to $4 trillion.”

We know that the economic future of our country, and the world, rests on decisions that will be made in the next few days. Senate Budget Committee Chair Kent Conrad (D-ND)

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) warned that the U.S. cannot repeat the mistakes of Europe in not confronting its debt crisis sufficiently. He also noted that the debt debate has become a proxy on whether our government institutions are up to the job in dealing with the country’s problems.

This is about more than money. It’s about whether the President and Congress can competently govern. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) noted that Republicans on the Super Committee recently have put revenue on the table and Democrats put entitlements on the table. He urged both parties “to put more on the table.” Sen. Durbin conveyed that a “Go Big” approach helps encourage bipartisan collaboration because it puts more items on the table. And Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) added that necessary reforms to strengthen vital programs like Medicare will be easier to make as part of a “Go Big” deal.

What we are here today, however, to say is that we are ready to make the compromises and build the solutions that can help bring all the parties together. And several of those here have made the point that if we go big, it actually becomes easier to put the issues on the table and find the solutions that can help us move forward. Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) closed the event by articulating the leadership and compromise that will be required. “The fact that you may have members standing here who have different ideas about how far they would personally like to go on taxes or how far they personally would like to go on entitlement reform does not mean that they are not ready to make the kinds of decisions that will help us as a nation to solve our fiscal crisis.”

Watch the C-SPAN video of the event here. And read the CRFB statement here.

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