Conrad on SOTU Hey Kent What about Jobs

Robert Borosage

The retiring Kent Conrad, Democratic Chair of the Senate Budget Committee, released his own statement on the State of the Union (see below in full). He praises the president for calling for civility and bipartisan action on deficits.

Missing in action is any mention of jobs or the president’s investment agenda.

Instead Conrad wants to go after discretionary spending, entitlements and “tax reform that simplifies the tax code, lowers rates, and raises revenue.” Lower rates and more revenue? Doesn’t that insure that middle class Americans take it in the ear?

And jobs? The British economy cratered last quarter, before the austerity hits. Europe is struggling to save the Euro. Housing is headed into a double dip here. Jobs and growth are the assumption in every budget reduction plan. But we can’t assume them yet; we’ve got to generate them — before weilding the axes on spending.

“I was pleased with President Obama’s emphasis on returning civility to our political discourse and his call for working in a bipartisan fashion. The President was also right to call for a bipartisan solution to the nation’s long-term debt crisis. Democrats and Republicans must find a way to come together on this critical challenge.

“Now it is time to move beyond words. It is time for action. We need to reach agreement on a bipartisan long-term deficit and debt reduction plan. We must structure the plan so that it kicks in after the economy is on a stronger footing. But we cannot delay moving forward. We need to enact a plan this year.

“The President can’t do this alone. House Republicans have to be willing to come to the table. And focusing only on cutting non-defense discretionary spending isn’t enough. The resulting cuts would do too much damage to the economy and would be too draconian to be sustainable. A balanced plan has to also include entitlement reform and tax reform that simplifies the tax code, lowers rates, and raises revenue.”

This statement is available on the Senate Budget Committee website.

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