WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn today released the following statement on the first meeting of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.  The commission has been tasked by the President to devise a plan by December 1 to tackle the soaring federal budget deficit and restore accountability and common sense to our budget.

“One major challenge facing our country is the rising national debt.  Under the Bush Administration and Republican congressional majorities budget discipline was abandoned and irresponsible deficit spending on two wars and two tax cuts for the wealthiest in the nation turned a projected $5.6 trillion surplus into a $11 trillion deficit. Now Republicans want to return to the reckless and irresponsible fiscal policies that ignored the needs of Main Street, protected the interests of big banks and Wall Street and racked up huge deficits that plunged America’s economy into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

“In contrast, President Obama and Democrats in Congress have been committed to fiscal discipline, taking a multi-pronged approach to strengthening our economy and restoring fiscal discipline. In the short-term we passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which brought our economy back from the brink of disaster, created or saved over 2.8 million jobs to date and put the economy back on a path of growth.  For the long term we enacted a health reform law that will give all Americans access to quality affordable health care and cut the deficit by $1 trillion over the next two decades.  We also passed legislation to restore pay-as-you-go budget rules, establish a debt commission to address long term structural deficits that threaten the economic security of future generations, and hold Wall Street accountable by ending the risky financial activities that nearly destroyed the American economy. I applaud the work of President Obama and the members of the commission to reduce our deficit and ensure economic stability and security for years to come.”