Last week, the Senate reached a compromise to narrowly avoid the nation’s first-ever default.
Although the deal we got is less than I had hoped for, I voted for it because one goal overrode all others: preventing a default on our debt obligations, which could have pushed our fragile economy into a double-dip recession.
With this deal, we can take the important step of reducing our annual deficits, albeit not by the $4 trillion economists have estimated we need.
I, for one, had hoped and fought for a more balanced, comprehensive agreement that would have strengthened Social Security and Medicare and reformed the tax code — a proposal along the lines of the recommendations of the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson Commission on Reducing the Debt.
Among other things, a balanced plan would ensure the wealthiest among us help shoulder the burden of balancing our books and would put an end to the wasteful tax breaks for multibillion-dollar corporations that ship our jobs overseas. The bill creates a commission to reduce our structural deficits and long-term debt by the end of this year, and I’ll keep fighting for these reforms to be included in the plan my Senate colleagues hammer out.
As we continue to rebuild our ailing economy, we must now turn our focus toward aggressively creating jobs and restoring certainty in the global markets. Unfortunately, while we may agree on a jobs maxim, we still have a ways to go before we agree on how to achieve that economic shot in the arm.
I was extremely discouraged that Congress decided to adjourn this week without reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration, which had put on hold tens of thousands of jobs and multiple construction projects. I am relieved that Senate leaders eventually heard our calls to overcome this nonsensical impasse and reached a deal to put these Americans back to work — but Congress can’t keep doing business this way.
If we have policy or political differences, we need to sit down and work out a compromise together, not strong-arm one-sided provisions into law by holding hostage the jobs of Americans.
We need to keep exploring ways to reduce our debt and keep our country’s financial health in top shape. And that includes a dose of the Colorado trifecta: collaboration, compromise and common sense.
Our citizens are our state’s most important resource, and I’ll continue working with you to craft policies that protect middle-class families and give local businesses the certainty they need to expand.
With the unemployment rate hovering around 9 percent, many Americans cannot find a job.
That’s why I’ve put together information for unemployed workers on job search, workforce training and other educational resources in your regions, to help Coloradans return to the job market or gain new skills.
I encourage you to check out these resources and contact the dedicated and professional staff at my nine regional offices throughout the state if you need further help.
Finally, I want to sincerely thank those of you who raised your voices for bipartisan solutions in the final weeks and days of the negotiations. Your support was instrumental in convincing my colleagues that compromise — especially in the face of disaster — is critical.
Mark Udall is a Democrat in the U.S. Senate.