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Aug 11 2011

Johnson: Members of Fiscal Committee Should be Committed to Job Growth

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) today pushed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) appointees to the fiscal committee created under the debt ceiling agreement to develop balanced approach that makes responsible cuts to get the deficit in line without harming the economy. Johnson called for a proposal that makes job creation a top priority.

“The recent economic news had made clear that although progress is being made towards a recovery, we are not out of the woods yet. I want the committee the develop a moderate, balanced plan that gets our deficit in line without losing sight of the immediate need to create jobs and kickstart this economy,” said Johnson.

The recent debt ceiling agreement mandated the creation of a new joint select committee dedicated to developing a plan to further reduce the deficit, with a goal of $1.5 trillion in cuts over the next decade. The committee will be made up of 12 members of Congress from both parties, and Democratic and Republican leaders from the House and Senate will each appoint three members. The plan will be voted on by Congress before the end of the year.

Minority Leader McConnell recently announced that he has appointed Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Rob Portman (R-OH) to the commission. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced earlier this week that he has appointed Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA), Max Baucus (D-MT), and John Kerry (D-MA). 

Johnson joined a coalition of Democratic Senators from across the country in sending a letter to the Minority Leader today. A copy of the letter is below:

August 11, 2011

Hon. Mitch McConnell

Republican Leader

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510


Dear Leader McConnell:

Given that the single best deficit reduction strategy is economic growth, we urge you to ensure that your appointees to the new joint select committee (“JSC”) created by the debt limit bill are committed to a policy of job creation.

The recent spate of discouraging economic news underscores the need to make employment the top priority of our government.  For families across the country, the biggest economic problem is high unemployment.  As you know, the lack of jobs and anemic growth rate of the economy are not only enormous problems in their own right, causing great pain for millions of Americans, they are a major component of our deficit.  Indeed, the loss of revenue resulting from the recession accounts for nearly $4 trillion of the projected deficits over the next 10 years.

At the same time, jobless workers put additional strain on our critical social safety net programs.  As more and more Americans rely on unemployment benefits, food stamps and Medicaid, our deficits go up.  Getting those individuals back to work not only allows them to be self-sufficient, it reduces federal government spending.

It is therefore appropriate and important that the JSC explicitly embrace job creation as a part of its mission.  Targeted investments in economic growth and job creation can complement and even enhance long-term deficit reduction efforts and should be a priority that the JSC embraces.  Indeed, failure to make such investments could have a serious negative impact on our fiscal situation.

Just as we can all acknowledge that reducing our deficits over the medium and long term is a national imperative, we would hope that all 100 Senators could agree that sacrificing job creation in the near term to pursue that imperative would be a grave mistake.  Over the course of the last few months, the default debate sounded to many Americans as if it was taking place in a vacuum that did not include enough discussion of the recession and its aftermath.  Let us be very clear: our fiscal challenge is directly linked to the jobs crisis and we cannot solve the former without tackling the latter.

We look forward to working with you and the Republican conference towards both objectives and hope the JSC can help advance policies that get America back to work.   



Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI)

Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK)

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)

Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD)

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)

Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO)

Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM)

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)


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