Washington, DC -- Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) expressed disappointment, but no surprise, at the failure of the so-called “super committee” to agree to a debt reduction plan.  The committee announced its failure prior to Monday’s midnight deadline. 

“This was a flawed plan from the beginning.  I would have been pleased to support a plan that would have had a chance at passing out of this divided Congress, and put our nation’s economy back on track.  Instead, what we have is a Super Committee that was nothing more than an exercise in futility.  I predicted from the start that this committee was just a recipe for gridlock, and that’s exactly what we got.

“It seems the ‘kryptonite’ for the ‘super’ committee was the Bush Tax Cuts.  It is impossible for anything to be accomplished, at the scale we are talking about, without both Democrats and Republicans serious about enacting difficult change.  The Republicans appear to be more focused on keeping their pledge to a Washington lobbyist, and refusing to raise any real revenues instead of keeping their promise to the American people.  If we want to solve problems, we have to make hard choices and they refuse to make any.

“Our soaring deficit can be traced back to the sweeping tax cuts of the Bush Administration and the unpaid for wars they initiated.  Upon inheriting an economy spiraling downward into depression, President Obama had to do deficit spending to stop the bleeding.  To begin the process of scaling down this debt, Democrats have been willing to make difficult cuts and have asked Republicans to do the same.  Raising revenue on the richest Americans is a reasonable request to help keep the burden off the backs of our seniors, our low-income families and our unemployed.  However, they refuse to do this one thing.  We cannot erase our debt simply by obliterating our social safety net.

“So instead, the ‘bitter pill’ trigger installed in the debt ceiling deal will become policy.  Medicare and defense cuts will take place in a year from now unless a better idea is put forward by Congress.  Judging by this past year, I have no confidence this can be done.  Congress has accomplished very little so far under Republican rule in the House, and due to Republican filibusters in the Senate.  All we have seen are House-passed bills straight from the right-wing a la carte menu, gridlock in the Senate, and absolutely nothing to help put Americans back to work.  How are we possibly going to pass a multi-trillion dollar overhaul if we can’t compromise on anything?

“Our to-do list continues to grow – job creation, saving Medicare and Social Security, debt reduction, education reform, immigration reform, removing dependence on foreign oil, national security issues across the globe, etc.  I call on my Republican colleagues to rip up the pledges they have made to anyone other than the American people and join with us to make the hard decisions we were elected to make.  The time is not just now, it has long passed.  The American people expect us to make them; we cannot waste another minute.”