Rep. DesJarlais' Column: The "Super Committee" on Deficit ReductionPosted by on August 18, 2011
As we approach the mid-point of the August work period, I am interested to see the work of the “Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction” begin, and I will be even more interested in the final product that they are challenged to produce to the Congress.
As most of you know, on August 1st, the House approved the Budget Control Act of 2011 (S. 365), by a vote of 269-161. The Senate would pass the bill and the President signed the bill into law a day later. I could not and did not cast a vote in favor of this bill. As I noted in my last blog post, I was disappointed to find that this deal would only immediately save American taxpayers a projected $900 billion over the course of ten years, while granting the President the largest debt limit increase in United States history.
There’s a second component to this bill, and that is the creation of this “Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.” This joint committee is tasked only with the specific goal of reducing the deficit by an additional $1.5 trillion (or more) over the period of 2012 through 2021. The legislation requires the joint committee to provide recommendations and specific legislative language that will significantly improve both the short- and long-term fiscal imbalance of the federal government, and to vote on these findings by November 23rd, 2011. There are 12 members of this committee, 6 from the House and 6 from the Senate, with 3 from each body appointed by the majority and minority leaders from each body. Here are the individuals appointed by their respective leaders:
If there’s one thing I’ve discovered about Washington in my short time here, it’s the fact that there is no shortage of “blue ribbon panels,” “select committees,” and “special advisory boards.” It seems that too often these groups of otherwise exceptionally capable people are simply organized public relations efforts to present an image that your government is working hard to solve problems when, in fact, it really doesn’t ultimately address the issue at all. I hope this select committee is the exception rather than the rule. As I’ve said in the past, we can’t kick the can down the road anymore. I am hopeful that this committee will present us with some workable solutions that will get our massive deficit spending and exploding debt under control. People in the 4th District have been following this issue closely, and they don’t want more window dressings and more financial gimmicks. I look forward to closely reviewing the committee’s recommendations, and I look forward to having you sharing your thoughts on them with me.