Homer Alaska - Business

Story last updated at 12:36 PM on Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Supercommittee fails to find cuts

The Associated Press

JUNEAU — Alaska's congressional delegation said Monday that the debate over debt reduction isn't over, in spite of the failure of a bipartisan supercommittee charged with finding $1.2 trillion in cuts over 10 years.

Sens. Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski said members of Congress need to come together and work to put the nation on a financially sustainable course. Rep. Don Young remained hopeful that "cooler heads will prevail" and a debt reduction package of more than $1.2 trillion will eventually be passed, his spokesman, Luke Miller, said.

Failure by the committee is, by law, to trigger about $1 trillion in automatic spending cuts in military and domestic government programs beginning in 2013. Whether that happens, though, given next year's elections and their potential to shake up the political landscape, is unclear.

The delegation expressed a willingness to keep pushing toward getting the nation on a stronger financial footing.

Begich, a Democrat, said there must be "the right mix" of spending cuts, tax changes and investments in areas like education, infrastructure and energy to jumpstart the economy and reduce the deficit. He said the "wealthiest 2 percent need to pay their fair share to help make this happen."

Murkowski, a Republican, called for a combination of spending cuts and changes to entitlement programs, the tax code and the federal budget process. Young, a Republican, is pushing development of American resources — including the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling — as a way to create jobs and boost revenue.

The senators said the finger-pointing over why the supercommittee failed must end. "Americans don't care about whose fault it is. They just expect us to fix it and put our country on a sustainable course," Murkowski said in a statement.

"Every day we don't develop a plan for the future, the deficit grows steeper, along with the stakes."