As Washington ties itself up in knots over what the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, better known as the Supercommittee, will recommend to Congress, thirty-three Senators are standing tall against continued overspending and overborrowing.

In a letter of November 3, 2011, to the Members of the Supercommittee, Senators Jim DeMint, John Cornyn, Kelly Ayotte and thirty others said that the Supercommittee’s recommendations need to meet the following criteria:

  • “balance our budget within ten years;
  • “place entitlements on a path to fiscal solvency;
  • “comprehensive tax reform that lowers rates and promotes economic growth, with no net tax increase; [and]
  • “avoid a further downgrade of our credit rating.”

While the Senators left out a crucial fifth criterion — fully funding defense to protect America — theirs is an important clear statement by elected leaders of what must be done.

A week after the Budget Control Act created  the Supercommittee in August, The Heritage Foundation called upon the Supercommittee to “drive federal spending down — including by fixing ever-expanding entitlement programs — toward a balanced budget, while preserving our capability to protect America, and without raising taxes.”  On August 11, Heritage transmitted to all of the members of the Supercommittee a detailed plan on how to achieve that goal — the Heritage plan for “Saving the American Dream.”  Today, the Foundation reiterated that the needed reform will rest on three pillars: (1) fully fund defense, (2) transform entitlement programs, and (3) do not raise taxes.  Americans who understand the plight of the nation will not accept tax hikes or, especially when the “U.S. military faces a readiness crisis,” further cuts to the nation’s defenses.

The Supercommittee members have the opportunity to put the country on as sound fiscal footing.  They can also make devastating mistakes, such as anti-growth, job-killing tax hikes in a recession or cuts to the nation’s defense in a dangerous world.  All Americans hope the Supercommittee makes the right choice.  The final choice, of course, will rest with the American people in the general election in November 2012.