President Obama and congressional leaders on Monday, Nov. 21, exchanged accusations regarding the failure of the congressional “super committee” to negotiate a $1.2 trillion deficit reduction agreement and called for Congress to work out an agreement before automatic budget cuts take place in 2013.
“After months of hard work and intense deliberations, we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee’s deadline,” the co-chairs of the bipartisan special joint committee said in a statement.
“Despite the broad agreement that exists for such an approach, there are still too many Republicans in Congress that have refused to listen to the voices of reason and compromise that are coming from outside of Washington,” Obama said.
The U.S. Department of Transportation was among the many government agencies facing tough looming budget decisions. “When times are tough, Americans have always come together to accomplish big things,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “It’s disappointing that some in Congress haven’t been willing to do the same. Because the supercommittee failed to reach an agreement, we now face across-the-board cuts to programs that are critical to rebuilding our crumbling transportation infrastructure and putting Americans back to work.”
LaHood said “the American people want commonsense bipartisan solutions that take a balanced approach to reducing the deficit while protecting critical transportation investments that create jobs and allow our economy to grow. When Congress comes back next month, I urge them to set aside politics and get to work on a bipartisan plan that will allow us to live within our means, while also meeting our responsibility to rebuild America’s critical transportation infrastructure.”