Hensarling Blames Deficit Stalemate on Democrats

The day after the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction failed to strike a bipartisan agreement to cut $1.5 trillion from the deficit, the Republican co-chair of so-called the Supercommittee, now dubbed the Superfailure, noted that “a great opportunity has been missed” and revealed his own view on why the committee’s work ended without a deal.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, says that “Americans deserve an explanation” of why members could not come to an agreement.   “We regrettably missed a historic opportunity to lift the burden of debt and help spur economic growth and job creation,” Hensarling writes.

“Ultimately, the committee did not succeed because we could not bridge the gap between two dramatically competing visions of the role government should play in a free society, the proper purpose and design of the social safety net, and the fundamentals of job creation and economic growth.”

Hensarling praised the six Democrats on the committee for acting with “honor and integrity” and negotiating “in good faith to the end,” but he blamed partisan ideology for leading the committee to a stalemate. “The Democrats said no,” he writes. “They were unwilling to agree to anything less than $1 trillion in tax hikes.” In short, Hensarling takes on the Democrats for refusing to say yes to Republican offers, and he singled out the president for a “disappointing lack of leadership.”

“Unfortunately, the committee’s challenge was made more difficult by President Obama,” Hensarling added. “[President Obama] demanded more stimulus spending and issued a veto threat against any proposed committee solution to the spending problem that was not coupled with a massive tax increase.”