Thursday, December 01, 2011

GUEST COLUMN: "An Opportunity Missed" by Rep. Bob Gibbs

By Congressman Bob Gibbs

The failure of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, better known as the Super Committee, to reach agreement on $1.2 trillion in spending cuts is a serious disappointment. An opportunity to eliminate some of our huge debt was wasted – and with it, the chance to spur economic growth and create much-needed jobs.

As an outsider sent to Washington to bring a new perspective, I am frustrated that politics as usual has gotten in the way again. While the Republican-led House secured the largest reduction in discretionary spending in history, the inability of the ‘Super Committee’ to come to an agreement to further reduce the deficit illustrates once again that Washington is broken and lacks the internal discipline to make the necessary but difficult choices to pay down our $15 Trillion national debt.

The truth is, as stated by Representative James Clyburn (D-SC) a week ago on Fox News Sunday, the Democrats had no plan. They were unwilling to compromise without at least $1 trillion in job-killing tax increases on families and employers, and simply rejected a plan from Republicans which showed we can stabilize or reduce tax rates combined with eliminating tax loopholes to generate revenues.

It’s disappointing that President Obama has passed up yet another opportunity to lead in a bipartisan way. Instead of showing any kind of leadership or interest in a successful plan, the President has spent his time campaigning and political posturing, willing to let our nation’s economic problems go unaddressed so he can campaign against what he calls a “do-nothing congress.”

But the fact is that the House of Representatives is passing bill after bill that provide bipartisan solutions to incentivize and revitalize economic and job growth, only to have them ignored by the Senate- the same Senate that has failed to produce a budget in over 900 days. Talk about “do nothing.”

But one thing that has been done since the President’s inauguration? The national debt has skyrocketed, adding $4.4 trillion in less than three years. That is a 41% increase. And that is insane.

It is extremely disappointing that President Obama and the Democrats in Washington still don't get it: job-killing tax increases that would intensify the painful effects of their failed policies that brought us to $15 trillion in debt and persistent 9% unemployment aren’t the answer. This level of irresponsibility not only hurts job growth in this economy, it also threatens future generations’ wellbeing.

Despite this setback in the effort to reduce our debt, I remain as committed as ever to fighting the Washington machine and advocating on behalf of my constituents for real, common-sense solutions including: tax reform that makes our tax code simpler, fairer and more competitive; common sense regulatory reform; and an energy policy that responsibly encourages development of domestic energy resources. These types of pro-growth initiatives will ensure prosperity for future generations by providing certainty and restoring confidence resulting in increased economic growth and job creation.