The reaction from Iowa’s two U.S. Senators to the “super committee’s” failure illustrates the divisions that led to the impasse. Democratic Senator Tom Harkin says Republicans doomed the deficit reduction talks by rejecting all tax increases, and even calling for new tax cuts. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says the focus needs to be on reducing spending.
“Too many people seem to think that tax increases are a solution to this problem, but tax increases aren’t a solution because the money from higher taxes doesn’t seem to get to be used to reduced the deficit,” Grassley says, citing a study from Ohio University. “For the last 65 years, every new dollar in new tax increases has resulted in congress spending not just that $1, but $1.17.”
Grassley says with or without an agreement, federal spending has to be reduced and that includes cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Grassley also blasts President Obama for “blaming Republicans” for the super committee’s failure. “But he doesn’t seem to engage or offer credible solutions for deficit reduction,” Grassley says.
From the other side of the partisan divide, Senator Harkin says Republicans “do not care about deficit reduction” and he says the only way to accomplish the goal is trhough “a fair mix of spending cuts and revenue increases.”
Congressman Steve King doubts the 25-percent across-the-board cuts that have been triggered will ever come to pass.
“We should remember that they don’t even start until the first day of January in 2013,” King says, “…after we have a presidential election, after a third of the members of the United States Senate are up for reelection and we have all the members of the house are up for reelection.”
Some members of congress are already talking about ways to act in 2012 to avoid the deep cuts to defense and other federal programs. King, though, suggests the decisions won’t come ’til 2013 — after the 2012 election results.
“It’ll be a different congress and perhaps a different president that has time, then, to go in and change some of these mandatory cuts,” King says.
King made his comments during a meeting in Le Mars yesterday. Congressman Bruce Braley says, “partisan ideology is trumping common sense in Washington.” Congressman Tom Latham says Americans have a right to be frustrated by the “rampant dysfunction in Washington. Congressman Dave Loebsack says the super committee is another example of the kind of “brinksmanship” that led the country “to the edge” this summer when the government’s credit rating was downgraded. Congressman Leonard Boswell calls it “shameful” that the super committee failed to broker a deal.
(Additional reporting by Dennis Morrice, KLEM, Le Mars)