For Immediate Release: November 21, 2011

Super Committee Failure Part and Parcel of a Larger Problem

After three months of negotiations, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, more widely known as the Super Committee, today announced that it failed to reach consensus on reducing the nation's debt by at least $1.2 trillion over the next decade. Following is a statement by Alan W. Houseman, executive director of CLASP, the Center for Law and Social Policy.

"The Super Committee was born out of congressional wrangling over our nation's policy priorities, and it seems to have met its demise in much the same way.

"Since negotiations over deficit reduction began, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have said that deficit reduction should be balanced and adhere to the principal of shared sacrifice. Instead of standing by that principle, Republican lawmakers pushed for cuts to programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security but refused to consider closing corporate tax loopholes and ending tax breaks for the wealthy. This is not the American way, nor is it in the true spirit of compromise. Lawmakers should ask themselves whether they really want the history books to say the nation failed to compromise and get its fiscal house in order because some were loath to tax millionaires and corporations.

"The intransigence over tax cuts demonstrates that some of our lawmakers are out of touch with the lives of ordinary Americans. It's no wonder eight in 10 disapprove of the job Congress is doing.  Those who are out of work are preoccupied with searching for employment and making do with significantly less. Those who have jobs are focused on their families' daily needs. And the millions who are living in poverty or have recently fallen into poverty are trying to figure out how to attain a middle class standard of living. These are the people who need Congress's steadfast allegiance - not corporations and wealthy individuals.

"Congress will recess this week for Thanksgiving.  When they return they should focus on addressing the needs of ordinary Americans. They should extend unemployhment insurance and the payroll tax cut, pass legislation to create jobs and invest in children and our education and workforce development systems."

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