Oversight Democrats Release Recommendations to the Super Committee

Oct 13, 2011
Press Release

Washington, D.C.—Today, Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings released a report on behalf of Democratic Members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform with recommendations to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.

The Oversight Committee has a unique perspective because of its broad jurisdiction over the entire federal government and private sector entities.  The report is based on work conducted by Democratic Committee Members over several Congresses when they served in both the majority and minority.  The report’s primary recommendations are as follows:

  • Support bipartisan job creation proposals.  The report recommends adopting the President’s proposals in the American Jobs Act that invest in bipartisan programs to enhance economic growth and create jobs while responsibly reducing the deficit.
  • Reform the tax code to ensure balance and fairness.  The report recommends enacting comprehensive tax reform or, if there is insufficient time, adopting targeted proposals to create a fairer tax system that helps reduce the deficit.
  • Preserve Medicare and Medicaid as we know it.  The report recommends protecting and preserving the core guarantees of Medicare and Medicaid while implementing steps to make both programs more efficient and effective.
  • Defend against further cuts to the federal workforce.  The report recommends avoiding further cuts for federal employees given the significant cuts already imposed on them, and instead reforming compensation reimbursement for federal contractors.
  • Generate billions in savings on prescription drugs.  The report recommends adopting several measures to substantially reduce drug prices for the federal government and patients.
  • Generate additional savings from defense programs.  The report recommends adopting measures to increase oversight and efficiency in defense programs and contracts while making additional targeted defense reductions.
  • Allow Postal Service legislation to be considered on a “unified budget” basis.  The report recommends amending the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010 so that Postal Service legislation can be evaluated on a unified budget basis.
  • Take immediate action to address the housing crisis.  The report recommends dramatically expanding efforts to address the housing crisis, which has been flagged as “ground zero for the economy’s problems, high unemployment and lost jobs.”

Cummings also released a letter to the Joint Select Committee directing particular attention to the report’s crucial recommendation to address the housing crisis.

“To date, neither Congress nor the Administration has done enough to address the housing crisis, which is one of the most significant challenges facing our nation’s struggling economy,” wrote Cummings.  “We must address this crisis much more aggressively and comprehensively in order to hasten a true and lasting economic recovery.”

These recommendations were submitted only by Democratic Members because the Committee as a whole failed to develop proposals, hold hearings, or adopt an official Committee report with recommendations to the Joint Select Committee. 

Cummings had requested last month that he and Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa begin developing “a joint, bipartisan Committee report with recommendations to the Super Committee on reducing the debt and increasing jobs,” but the Committee failed to hold any business meetings to consider proposals, debate amendments, or adopt recommendations.

Issa also failed to respond to a September 9, 2011, letter from Cummings proposing that the Committee hold a series of hearings focusing in detail on job creation programs proposed by the President in his address to a joint session of Congress.

“In my opinion, this was a wasted opportunity for the Oversight Committee to offer constructive solutions to the Joint Select Committee and a dereliction of the Committee’s responsibilities to the American taxpayers,” Cummings wrote.  “Nevertheless, we hope the Democratic recommendations in this report contribute constructively to the Joint Select Committee’s work, and we stand ready to provide further assistance if needed.”

112th Congress