Washington, DC (PRWEB) October 18, 2013
On Wednesday, the Campaign to Fix the Debt convened a press conference with former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and leaders representing a broad group of constituencies urging Congress and the President to put in place a long-term agreement to address the national debt. According to Stars and Stripes, Secretary Panetta noted the hard work of hammering out a long-term federal budget starts now even though a deal was reached on the debt ceiling and government shutdown.
“The American people are tired of the partisan politics that continue to divert attention from the real fiscal challenges facing the country,” said former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. “Republicans and Democrats must engage in broader budget negotiations in order to adequately address our unsustainable national debt and to avoid a disruptive fiscal showdown every few months.”
The press conference underscored the need for lawmakers to find common ground through common sense when confronting the national debt.
“Our elected leaders in Washington need to stop the madness and break the cycle of governing by crisis, start working together, and solve our debt problem once and for all,” said Maya MacGuineas, head of the Campaign to Fix the Debt.
In addition to Sec. Panetta, speakers at the press conference included former policymakers as well as members of the academic, research and business communities.
“Citizens across the country are yearning for economic certainty,” said Jim Nussle, former Director of the Office of Management and Budget, who is also a former Chairman of the House Budget Committee. “However, it’s impossible to provide them that certainty when dysfunction in Washington continues to be such a distraction.”
“Our leaders’ continuing irresponsibility on the budget is widening our innovation deficit, and it's killing off the next generation of American scientists and engineers,” said Hunter Rawlings, President of the Association of American Universities. “Continuing cuts to research and education will make it impossible for these young researchers to pursue their careers, and the result will be a less innovative, far weaker American economy, fewer cures for diseases, and a less secure nation.”
“While many small businesses have felt the pinch of the government shutdown, it will seem a minor inconvenience compared to the failure of our national leaders to address our burgeoning national debt in a responsible, long-term way,” said Todd McCracken, President of the National Small Business Association.
Among the topics of discussion were the harmful, nearly across-the-board cuts of sequestration that continue to inhibit economic growth and innovation across the country.
"Make no mistake: sequestration and the government shutdown are heartless, gutless choices to do catastrophic harm to the most vulnerable among us,” said Ian Kremer, Executive Director of Leaders Engaged in Alzheimer’s Disease. “They represent a decision that Americans facing devastating illnesses deserve less care and support, and that we can afford to slow down scientific pursuit of effective ways to treat or prevent mind and body ravaging diseases. If Congress fails to end the sequester soon with a genuinely responsible long-term fiscal plan, Congress will have reaffirmed its choice to impose ten annual doses of bad medicine which will inflict a lifetime of misery of tens of millions of average, hard-working, patriotic Americans."
“Our nation’s research ecosystem is in a very precarious state as a result of sequestration and a dysfunctional government,” said Mary Woolley, President and CEO of Research!America. “The shutdown is a terrible phenomenon that could have been avoided if our elected officials focused on the health and well-being of Americans instead of ideological politics. Medical and health research – key to improving health and reducing the costs of health care – has not been funded at the level of scientific opportunity for over a decade, jeopardizing our global competitiveness, economic security and most importantly, patient care.”
The Campaign to Fix the Debt and all participants in today’s press conference will continue to work with lawmakers as they shift their focus towards working on a comprehensive deficit-reduction plan.
“The USHCC calls on Congress and the Administration to work together to pass common-sense, long-term legislation that will fix our nation’s debt and set us on a continuing course to improve the health of our economy,” said Javier Palomarez, President and CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “Negotiations, whether they’re motivated by profit or politics, achieve their highest possible success when we recognize that cooperation works better than conflict, solidarity outlasts isolation, and our differences do not outweigh our common interests.”