On Monday, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) gave a speech calling for Congress to "Go Big" on deficit reduction.
Hoyer opened by making the case--as we have many times in the past--that there is no conflict between addressing the short-term economic situation and putting the debt on a sustainable path. As he explained:
Our number one priority must continue to be creating jobs and setting our economy back on a course toward sustainable growth that creates opportunities for our middle class. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told the House Budget Committee earlier this month that growth must take precedence over deficit reduction. I agree. However, putting our fiscal house in order by reining in deficits and getting our debt under control is a critical part of ensuring sustainable economic growth, and so it is essential for us to have a plan to reduce deficits once the economy has further recovered.
According to Hoyer, the plan to address longer-term deficits should be one that builds upon the major bipartisan fiscal plans that are out there. He expressed hope that the trigger would live up to its name and force both parties to come together around a plan along that framework.
Simply walking away from sequestration would be waving the white flag in the face of CBO’s projection of a dismal fiscal future. However, sequestration remains an irrational response. It was the blunt instrument established to force both sides to the table and keep them there. It is not a solution in itself. Sequestration should have provoked compromise and fiscal common sense. Unfortunately, it did not. It should be replaced – but replaced only by the kind of big, balanced solution the Joint Select Committee was supposed to have produced.
He added that addressing our debt problem would help increase business and investor confidence and public confidence in our political institutions.
It would show the American public that our country is on the right track again. Internationally, it would demonstrate that America can lead not only on issues of global security but also lead by example in exercising much-needed fiscal responsibility. Furthermore, I believe it would also provide the biggest single stimulus to the economy we could achieve. Setting our economy back on a sustainable, predictable fiscal path will help us create jobs by restoring certainty for businesses and enabling them to plan for a future without the brinksmanship that has characterized this Congress.
He concluded by saying that our problems would need to be solved by coming together, in contrast to the partisanship that has characterized the current Congress.
One party isn’t going to get us out of this, and it won’t be done by waiting for another election to pass. It will require compromise by both political parties – and contributions from all Americans. Turning our deficits around and getting America back on the right track won’t be easy, but – then again – important steps are never easy. I pray that we can summon the political courage and will and wisdom this challenge requires of us. America’s future and the quality of life for our children and future generations depends on it.