Speaking at the 48th annual Kentucky Farm Bureau breakfast on Thursday, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., stressed compromise and called on both parties to relinquish their ‘false partisanship’ as the 12-member super committee prepares to meet.
The bipartisan panel has until late November 23 to recommend $1.5 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade. If a majority of the bipartisan committee agrees on a plan, it will be presented to Congress for an up-or-down vote by December 23.
However, if the joint panel fails to come up with the debt savings, the legislation will trigger automatic across-the-board cuts to domestic and military spending.
Paul says the public wants the federal government to quit accumulating debt, but that will require Democrats and Republicans to compromise on their principles.
“Republicans need to admit that not every dollar spent on the military is sacred or well spent. Democrats at the same time need to admit that every dollar for welfare and entitlement programs is not sacred or well spent,” he says. “Both sides will have to admit that. We will both have to admit the debt is not the fault of one party.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wa., and Congressman Jeb Hensarling, R-Tx., met Wednesday to go over the logistics of the panel, such as setting meeting dates and hiring staff.
Many lawmakers, such as Congressman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., have criticized the panel’s lack of transparency and have listed a number of demands.
“We want every meeting of the super committee to be streamed live, we want access to whatever legislation that they produce 72 hours before there’s a vote and we want to make sure that every contact that those committee members have with lobbyists and all the campaign contributions that they get are publicly available and publicly disclosed,” says Yarmuth.
The group announced Wednesday it will create a website that could be launched before September to gather public input. Critics have expressed doubt over whether the group can come up with an agreement given how divided congressional leaders were during the debt ceiling debate.
As the face of the Tea Party, however, Paul may have surprised his critics by stressing the areas for compromise in the ongoing debt debate.
The freshman Senator says members of Congress need to be open to cutting their most sacred spending if the deficit is going to be reduced.
“Democrats says rich need to bare more of the burden, we say job creators if you tax them more you’re going to hurt the working class. Seems to be at odds, but maybe we can accept the proposition that we have a serious debt problem and we say ‘Look, the rich can bare more of the burden, but let’s do it on the benefit side.’ There are compromises that could happen but we have to get to where the compromise is,” says Paul.
The super committee must meet by September 16.