Alaska’s Senators expressed disappointment Monday afternoon at word that the special congressional super committee has given up its attempt to combat the federal debt. The joint deficit reduction committee was made up of six Republicans and six Democrats, half from the House and half from the Senate. They officially threw in the towel Monday after a week where a deal looked less and less promising by the day.
Alaska’s Senators were encouraging the group to “go big” and offer up a substantive plan that would make major cuts to the deficit. Senator Mark Begich reacted Monday to news that won’t happen.
“Disappointed, frustration I think. And I think most Alaskans I talk to are frustrated mostly about the inability of elected officials to step up to the plate, compromise, work together and get things done,” Begich said.
As a Democrat Begich points to his work with the other two members of the Alaska delegation, both Republicans, as an example of how lawmakers can unite when they need to over common issues.
Senator Lisa Murkowski’s office put out a statement Monday saying the debate isn’t over, and that more work – in fact, harder work – must now be done to draw down the debt. She’s calling for a combination of spending cuts, reform to entitlement programs, changes in the federal budgeting process, and a tax-code overhaul. Murkowski says the stakes are growing more by the day.
Congressman Don Young was a critic of the super committee from its start three months ago and said he wanted to see all of Congress involved. His office says the Congressman is “still hopeful” that “cooler heads will prevail” and Congress will pass a big debt reduction package on its own.
But the House and Senate have disbursed for the Thanksgiving holiday, and when members come back next week they face dealing with the triggers slated to go into effect because the Super Committee failed.
$1.2 trillion in cuts are scheduled for January of 2013, far enough in the future that many in Congress say there’s time between now and then to come up with another plan.