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Begich Welcomes “Painful but Courageous” Recommendations of Debt Commission

Says Action Necessary to Continue Economic Recovery, Protect American Taxpayers

Saying failure to address America's growing national debt endangers the country's economic recovery, Sen. Mark Begich today called recommendations by the President's debt commission "painful but courageous and necessary."

"America's staggering national debt, nearly $14 trillion, threatens the family budgets of average Americans today and well into the future," Begich said. "The old Washington ways by both political parties of massive federal spending and tax loopholes simply can't be sustained."

"The report released today by the President's debt commission should shock every member of Congress of both parties to action. The commission's painful combination of proposed spending cuts, elimination of tax breaks and tax increases is courageous and must be taken seriously to get our nation back on track," Begich said.

The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, appointed by President Obama last February, released its proposed report today but is still working to muster the 14 votes among the 18 panel members to officially endorse its recommendations.

Begich has long supported measures to reduce the national debt, including:

·         Endorsing the President's proposal to freeze some discretionary federal spending, which would cut an estimated $250 billion from the national deficit over the next decade;

·         Co-sponsored the Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action Act of 2009 to establish a congressional debt commission, which was opposed by Republicans;

·         Voted for "pay-for" legislation which requires that federal spending bills approved by Congress are paid for;

·         Was the first Democrat to endorse using any funds paid back through the Troubled Asset Relief Program go to debt reduction;

·         Supported the Sessions-McCaskill legislation which freezes discretionary spending levels for two years and requires transparent limits on spending.

Also today, Begich delivered an impromptu speech on the Senate floor citing numerous statistics indicating the national economy is improving and that business and consumer confidence are up. He said numerous initiatives passed by Senate Democrats are helping the national economy recovery.

The speech will be available at http://begich.senate.gov/ later in the day.



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