Lawmakers React to Supercommittee Failure

by Andrew Stiles

A roundup of lawmakers’ reactions (and fingerpointing) following the supercommittee’s failure, beginning with House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.). The stark contrast in tone is pretty telling.


I’m disappointed that Republicans never found the courage to ignore Tea Party extremists and millionaire lobbyists like Grover Norquist. Republicans never came close to meeting Democrats halfway. They sought to end Medicare as we know it and insisted on expanding tax giveaways to millionaires


While I am disappointed, the House will forge ahead with the commitments we have made to reducing government spending and removing barriers standing in the way of private-sector job creation. Doing otherwise is not an option. This process did not end in the desired outcome, but it did bring our enormous fiscal challenges into greater focus. I am confident the work done by this committee will play a role in the solution we must eventually find as a nation.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.):

Republicans rejected a balanced plan and chose to keep their pledge to Grover Norquist to protect the wealthiest one percent at all costs.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.), supercommittee member:

I am saddened and disappointed that we were unable to meet our goal when so many Americans were counting on us. My Republican colleagues and I proposed a compromise that offered the other side revenue as they demanded…Unfortunately, our Democratic colleagues refused to agree to any meaningful deficit reduction without $1 trillion in job-crushing tax increases.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.), supercommittee member:

Many will portray this failure as the inevitable consequence of two partisan sides refusing to give ground. Blaming both sides equally will be the simple storyline and the path of least resistance. And it will be easy for people to deride any attempt to explain what happened as more partisan finger-pointing. That approach would be as easy as it would be wrong.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio), Republican Study Committee chairman:

Though President Obama acknowledged that entitlement programs are some of the biggest drivers of our debt, he has failed to show any leadership in trying to save them.  Predictably, the tax-and-spend Democrats on the Joint Select Committee fell in line right behind him.  Their failure of leadership could doom these important safety net programs.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.):

The Super Committee was a flawed idea from the start and, while I give credit to several of its members for making a good faith effort, its fate was sealed by the President’s failure to put forward a plan to cut spending and his unbreakable obsession with raising taxes on job creators.

Sen. Kent Conrad (D., N.D.), “Gang of Six” member:

A bipartisan, comprehensive, and balanced deficit reduction plan must be enacted.  Fortunately, there is a strong and growing block of support in Congress for such a plan. Already, more than 100 Members of the House and 45 Members of the Senate have expressed their desire to reach agreement on a bipartisan plan that truly puts our fiscal house in order.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.):

Had the president made clear he wanted an agreement, a deal would have been achieved. It seems clear he wanted a campaign issue instead. Rather than confronting the great threat of our time—our $15 trillion debt—the commander-in-chief fled the battlefield. That’s not clever; it’s irresponsible.

Sens. John McCain (R., Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.):

We are now working on a plan to minimize the impact of the sequester on the Department of Defense and to ensure that any cuts do not leave us with a hollow military. The first responsibility of any government is to provide for the common defense; we will pursue all options to make certain that we continue to fulfill that solemn commitment.

Rep. Buck McKeon (R., Calif.), House Armed Services Committee chair:

I will not be the armed services chairman who presides over crippling our military. I will not let these sequestration cuts stand.

President Obama plans to make a statement at 5:45 p.m.



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