Alaska Dispatch: Alaska's senators hold jabs over 'super committee' meltdown

The so called “super committee,” the bipartisan group of 12 members of the U.S. Congress (11 men and one woman) that was suppose to come up with some super ideas about ways to cutting the nation’s ballooning budget, threw their hands up Monday and called it quits. The meme has been predictable: the Republicans refused to allow increases in tax rates, Democrats refused to allow big cuts in entitlement programs, and Obama is to blame for it all. 

That last is the view of GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney. Read about why Romney believes it’s all Obama’s fault here. (The gist is that Obama hasn’t been involved. The idea behind the committee, however, was that Obama wouldn’t be involved so as to keep the effort bipartisan and separate from presidential politics.)

Alaska’s two senators, Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich, have so far, blessedly, stayed away from such jabs.

Begich said he was “disappointed and frustrated.” He added, however, that “the last thing I or the American people want is to watch committee members point fingers on the TV talk shows.”

Murkowski agreed: “The finger-pointing has already begun, as to who wasn’t willing to compromise or propose solutions,” she wrote in a release. (Both Begich's and Murkowski's releases are copied in full below.)

“As I’ve said all along, we need the right mix of cuts, tax reform and smart investments to get the economy going and reduce the national deficit,” Begich wrote. “Investing in education, energy and infrastructure will create much-needed jobs across the country. And the wealthiest 2 percent need to pay their fair share to help make this happen.”

Murkowski’s solution tends to be more Republican -- because, well, she is one -- and she certainly doesn't mention the now-infamous “wealthiest 2 percent.” But she does seem to be willing to talk tax reforms, along, naturally, with “spending cuts, entitlement reform, structural changes in the federal budget process and an overhaul of our tax code.” That last part was a supposedly more palatable way of saying that she’s for raising taxes by cutting loopholes.

Sounds benign enough. However, when Republican super committee member Sen. Pat Toomey, proposing eliminating $250 billion in tax deductions, 72 House Republicans signed a letter opposing tax increases in any super committee deal. Alaska Rep. Don Young’s did not sign the letter.


Source: By Amanda Coyne. Originall published on November 21, 2011