APA Members of Congress Comment on Super Committee’s Failure to Reach Deal

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WASHINGTON — Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) released the following statement Monday upon the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction’s announcement that they have failed to reach a deal:

“The Super Committee was given a unique and historic opportunity to get America on the right path by addressing our nation’s deficit and creating jobs in a responsible manner. I am disappointed that the committee has failed in its purpose and that a fair and balanced deal could not be reached.

“We all know that the way back to fiscal responsibility cannot be cuts alone, and revenues need to be part of any solution. Unfortunately, our Republican colleagues would not consider putting any meaningful revenues on the table. Instead, they continued to push to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, while paying for it on the backs of America’s middle-class and seniors.

“As I have continuously stated throughout this process, we must protect the programs upon which so many of our constituents rely.

“Additionally, it did not appear that our Republican colleagues wanted to consider a jobs plan within the committee context. As we move forward, we must not only continue to work to fix our country’s deficit, but also focus on creating jobs in this country.

“Just because the Super Committee failed, does not mean that this Congress should. We need to cut spending without stifling economic growth. We need to raise revenues to ensure that everyone pays their fair share. And, above all, we need to pass job creation measures because getting our economy on track is the best way to reduce our deficit in the long term.”

Rep. Judy Chu (D-El Monte) said in a statement, “”I am not surprised that the Super Committee did not work. Twelve members of Congress were asked to change the face of our American government behind closed doors, without transparency and without the participation of the American people.

“Polls show that Americans want a balanced agreement with both spending cuts and tax increases. It is extremely unfortunate that the Republicans continue to put the interests of the richest 1 percent of Americans ahead of our middle-class and working families. Apparently for the GOP, keeping tax cuts in place for those making more than $1 million a year is more important than the long-term fiscal health and well-being of our nation.

“I commend the Democratic members of the committee, Reps. (James) Clyburn (D-S.C.), (Xavier) Becerra (D-Los Angeles) and (Chris) Van Hollen (D-Md.), for championing a big, bold and balanced plan that included a jobs component and guaranteed Medicare coverage, and I know that our party will continue to fight for a broad solution that will balance cuts with revenue increases, protect benefits for our seniors, poor and disabled, and put our nation’s fiscal house in order.”

Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) said, “This is a disappointment shared by families across Hawaii who asked for a balanced approach to our budget that makes cuts that won’t hinder our growth, ends the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest among us to ensure we are all paying our fair share, and protects benefits for veterans, Social Security, and Medicare.

“As we move forward with the budget process that involves automatic cuts to defense and domestic programs, we must take a careful and considered approach toward these cuts in both areas. We cannot hurt our families and seniors. Our national security depends on a strong military presence in the Pacific. For that reason, we must also ensure continued support for this critical aspect of our national defense.

“I will continue to work toward a balanced approach to reducing our deficit that ends the partisan gridlock and lets us focus on creating jobs. The people of Hawaii deserve no less.”

Pay Cut Proposed

On Thursday, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) joined a bipartisan group of members in sending a letter to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, urging the committee to include pay cuts for members of Congress as part of the deficit deal.

By Nov. 23, the committee must approve a plan to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years.

Currently, a member’s annual salary is $174,000. A five percent pay cut would save about $50 million over the next 10 years. Adjustments to member benefit packages could also save millions of dollars.

“With so many Americans making personal sacrifices in this tough economy, I think it’s time for members of Congress to lead by example. The savings are not huge, but we need to clearly show that while we are asking for sacrifice, we are willing to sacrifice as well,” said Hanabusa.

Hanabusa is also a cosponsor of H.R. 204, the Congressional Pay Cut Act, which would cut members’ salaries by five percent.

“This is also important to me, personally, because the Congressional Pay Cut Act was introduced by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), the only bill she was able to introduce in the 112th Congress. I was fortunate to be seated next to her during the reading of the U.S. Constitution on Jan. 6, two days before she was shot. She asked me personally to cosponsor the bill, and I am proud to support it,” she said.

The last time Congress cut its own pay was in 1933, during the Great Depression.

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