Sens. Coburn & Crapo endorse deficit reduction plan as painful but essential

By Jon H. Harsch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, Dec. 2 - Two Republicans on the deficit reduction commission confirmed Thursday they will vote for the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform plan. In a Capitol Hill press conference, Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) explained that the plan is a beginning which moves in the right direction but will need extensive further work. They said that “As we begin this process with this plan, or a better plan, everyone in America should be prepared to sacrifice, beginning with politicians in Washington. Everything has to be on the table. There can be no sacred cows.”

 Together we can feed the Bees
Deficit commission member Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) announcing his surprise support for the commission's
overall package of recommendations. Photo: Agri-Pulse.

With continuing partisan gridlock stalling action on a number of legislative priorities, the senators called the current “financial tsunami” the equivalent of war. They said that to deal with this “threat to not just our way of life, but our national survival,” both major spending cuts and tax reform are urgently needed. They added that “Our oath to the Constitution must trump our oaths to parties, interest groups and ideology. This challenge is a matter of national survival but we know America has faced great challenges before and emerged stronger and more prosperous. The good news is all of these problems can be solved. If we act now in the spirit of service and sacrifice that built this country, we can create a future that honors the tremendous sacrifice that came before us.”

Coburn and Crapo predicted that the new Congress will take the deficit reduction report as the basis for legislative measures to put the national economy back on the path to growth and prosperity. Their joint statement concluded that “The time for action is now. We can't afford to wait until the next election to begin this process. Long before the skyrocketing costs of entitlements cause our national debt to triple and tax rates to double, our economy may collapse under the weight of this burden. We are already near a precipice. In the near future, we could experience a collapse in the value of the dollar, hyperinflation or other consequences that would force Congress to face a set of choices far more painful than those proposed in this plan.”

While other Republican oppose the plan as unacceptable based on including tax increases, Coburn said there would have to be more painful tax increases later if Congress fails to take action now. He said that what has brought him to shelving his firm ant-tax principles is the urgency of today's deteriorating debt situation

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