The Washington Times - November 2, 2011, 04:19PM

Yet another group has urged the debt-reduction supercommitee to “go big” and find savings of $4 trillion — more than three times its minimum target.

In a Wednesday joint letter to the committee, a bipartisan group of 100 House Democrats and Republicans also pressed the panel to consider both spending cuts and tax increases, saying that “all options for mandatory and discretionary spending and revenues must be on the table.”

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This letter was signed by conservative, moderate and liberal members of the House representing every caucus of the chamber, organizers said.

“While their political philosophies may differ, they all understand the urgency that our national debt crisis represents,” and Rep. Michael K. Simpson, Idaho Republican, and a leader of the effort.

Rep. Heath Shuler of North Carolina, who marshaled Democratic support for the letter, said he was “so proud of all of my colleagues who signed this letter for their courage to put country before political parties and do what is right for the fiscal future of our nation.”

The letter comes a day after the co-chairmen of two former debt-reduction committees — former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson; Erskine Bowles, one-time chief of staff to President Clinton; Alice Rivlin, an economist and former Clinton adviser; and former Republican Sen. Pete Domenici — delivered the same message to the supercommittee at a public hearing.

The supercommittee, born of this past summer’s bitterly fought debt-ceiling deal, must find by Nov. 23 ways to lower the debt by $1.5 trillion. Failure would trigger $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts that would affect a wide range of domestic programs and the Pentagon.

The biggest roadblock facing the panel is tax reform. Democrats have pushed for increased tax revenue, while Republicans have been steadfast in their opposition to any tax increases.

Michael Simpson declined to say whether he would support a net increase in tax revenue, as opposed to tax increases offset with tax cuts elsewhere, saying the purpose of the letter wasn’t to get into specifics of how the supercommittee should tackle its goals.  

“We cannot solve this problem by only looking at only mandatory spending, at only discretionary spending or only revenue,” he said. “All of those have to be on the table.”

“Anybody can find a reason to vote against whatever the supercommittee does, just like you can find a reason to vote against almost any bill that comes before Congress.”