Business leaders today called on the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction to significantly expand its efforts to reduce the deficit and include comprehensive tax and entitlement reform.
In a letter to all 12 members of the super committee, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged the super committee “to go beyond the legislative mandate of the Balanced Budget Control Act of 2011 to achieve savings of $1.2 [trillion] to $1.5 trillion to ensure that we stabilize our nation’s debt and put the debt’s share of the economy on a downward path.”
“This is essential for long-term economic growth in our nation,” the organizations wrote. “We believe it is crucial to act expeditiously to rein in spending, reform the tax code, reduce the deficit, and stabilize and ultimately lower America’s level of debt. ... We believe that these steps will remove the threat of fiscal instability, improve certainty, and create a sustainable foundation for economic and job growth in the years ahead.
“Put simply, Congress must reform entitlement programs and comprehensively restructure the U.S. tax code,” the letter says, which was also signed by 151 local and state chambers of commerce.
President Barack Obama and Members from both parties have also pushed the panel to include tax reform and other issues in its work as part of his jobs agenda. However, some Members of the panel, such as Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), have indicated that just hitting the minimum $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction might be a heavy lift.
The three business groups are enormously influential voices in Washington, particularly among Republicans, and their support for an expansion of the committee’s mandate could help push Members to try and tackle tricky issues such as tax reform.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.