Two House Budget Committee members responsible for spearheading a bipartisan campaign to urge the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction to “go big” took their message to national television today.
Reps. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) have collected signatures for a letter urging the super committee to consider “all options for mandatory and discretionary spending and revenues” and to aim for a $4 trillion deficit reduction package. Sixty Democrats and 40 Republicans spanning the ideological spectrum signed the letter, which was delivered last week.
During an appearance today with Simpson on “Fox News Sunday,” Shuler described the bipartisan support as a means to give the super committee cover to reach a deal. “This is a bipartisan way that we can support those 12 members [of the panel] and say, ‘We have your back, and we know you have to make a difficult decision,’” he said.
Simpson indicated that “more revenue is key to” making headway on the deficit.
When pushed on how that sentiment reconciles with his signature on Grover Norquist’s pledge to oppose all tax increases, Simpson said, “I signed that in 1998 when I first ran, and I didn’t know I was signing a marriage agreement that would last forever.” He added, “I think the majority of the Members of Congress understand that you have to have additional revenue.”
Shuler said, “It would be devastating to our country” if a deal cannot be reached.
He also encouraged President Barack Obama to stay out of the debate. “If he supports the super committee, or he supports one way, that pushes my colleagues on the other side in the opposite direction,” Shuler said.
Simpson indicated he will compromise on a deal to reduce the deficit. “If I’m going to make a difficult vote that I’m willing to make, I want it to mean something, and I don’t want it just kicking the can down the road,” he said.