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Walz, Peterson join call for deficit action

  • October 27, 2011 - 9:06 PM

At least two Minnesota DFLers have signed on to a letter urging Congress' budget "supercommittee" to consider tax hikes and program cuts as ways to slash the federal deficit.

Rural Democrats Tim Walz and Collin Peterson confirmed Thursday that they are signing the letter, which is making the rounds in the U.S. House as a show of bipartisan force for some kind of a budget deal aimed at $4 trillion in deficit reduction.

The letter, spearheaded by Republican Mike Simpson of Idaho and Democrat Heath Shuler of North Carolina, is framed in language that suggests both program cuts and tax increases.

A copy, obtained by the Star Tribune, reads in part: "To succeed, all options for mandatory and discretionary spending and revenues must be on the table. In addition, we know from other bipartisan frameworks that a target of some $4 trillion in deficit reduction is necessary to stabilize our debt as a share of the economy and assure America's fiscal well-being."

The committee, known formally as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, has a Thanksgiving deadline to reach a budget deal or face automatic across-the-board reductions beginning in 2013.

Amid various competing proposals from Republican and Democratic leaders, nearly 100 rank-and-file lawmakers have signed the letter, according to one knowledgeable congressional source.

No other member of the Minnesota delegation contacted by the Star Tribune voiced support for the coalition. Reps. John Kline and Michele Bachmann said they opposed it, while other members either said they would not sign the letter or did not respond to a request for information.

KEVIN DIAZ

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