EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


March 25, 2013

Column: Compromise needed to address budget challenges

With all the bickering and dysfunction in Congress, it’s easy to lose sight of the common ground that exists between Republicans and Democrats. Yes, we have real differences. Yes, we disagree on some important issues. But there are plenty of areas where we do agree.

We agree on the need to reduce the deficit and aggressively root out wasteful spending. We agree on the need to reform our tax code to encourage growth and generate revenue. We agree on the need to foster a business climate that spurs innovation and job creation. We agree on the need to reduce health care costs and honor the commitments we’ve made to our seniors.

Moreover, we know that progress on these issues will ultimately require the support of both parties. That’s why, from my first days in office, I have consistently called on Republicans and Democrats to work together on a balanced, bipartisan plan to reduce the deficit, grow the economy, and help create jobs — while protecting seniors and middle-class families.

And yet time and again, Congress has proven unwilling or unable to get the job done. We saw a perfect example this week when the House debated budget proposals for the coming fiscal year.

Instead of working together on a balanced plan to reduce the deficit, both parties proposed competing budgets that had no chance of earning broad, bipartisan support. The Republican plan didn’t receive a single Democratic vote. The Democratic plan didn’t receive a single Republican vote.

And so the process ended right where it began — with our country no closer to the type of responsible compromise we all know is needed to meaningfully address our fiscal challenges and put Granite Staters back to work.

In the end, I couldn’t support these plans because they didn’t reflect the type of compromise that New Hampshire families expect from their leaders — and that they practice every day in their own lives.

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