The Wall Street Journal, Nov 22 - All now know that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction has failed to reach an agreement. While there will still be $1.2 trillion of spending cuts as guaranteed under the Budget Control Act, we regrettably missed a historic opportunity to lift the burden of debt and help spur economic growth and job creation. Americans deserve an explanation.....Unfortunately, the committee's challenge was made more difficult by President Obama. Since the committee was formed, he has 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.......
Despite the president's disappointing lack of leadership, I believe my co-chair, Sen. Patty Murray, and every Democrat acted with honor and integrity and negotiated in good faith to the end. It was, of course, difficult to negotiate with six Democrats who, as Democratic committee member Jim Clyburn said on Nov. 13, "never coalesced around a plan" themselves. But I believe this failure was not due to lack of effort or commitment.
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.
A great opportunity has been missed, but America's fate will not be sealed by the failure of a temporary congressional committee. Spending cuts will begin anyway in 2013, but in a manner many of us, including our secretary of defense, believe could fundamentally harm our national security. I am committed to ensuring that full deficit reduction is realized, but Congress must work to achieve these savings in a more sensible manner that does not make us less safe.
As Winston Churchill said, "Americans can always be trusted to do the right thing, once all other possibilities have been exhausted." Despite my disappointment with the committee's setback, I remain confident that we will yet again prove Churchill right.