Former State Senate President and Fix the Debt—Maine Co-Chair Rick Bennett joined a diverse group of concerned individuals from across the country to converge on Washington, DC, to call on lawmakers to address the rapidly approaching fiscal cliff and the country’s long-term federal debt problems. The Maine delegation joined representatives from eight states urging immediate and meaningful reforms to protect the U.S. economy.
Highlights from the Pine Tree State …
Matthew Stone, a reporter with the Bangor Daily News, reported on the Fix the Debt launch in Portland highlighting the roles being played by Bennett and Baldacci and how in the short term, the campaign will “form a steering committee of business and community leaders and host town hall meetings across the state to raise awareness about the debt, and hear from residents about their debt-related concerns.”
John Richardson of the Kennebec Journal, noted how state steering committee co-chairs, former Governor John Baldacci and former State Senate President Rick Bennett, may have “battled each other in a race for Congress in 1994,” but are now working together to “avoid automatic spending cuts and tax increases that could send the economy back into a recession.”
Patty B. Wright covered the launch for Maine Public Radio and stressed the bipartisan nature of the campaign, particularly how both Bennett and Baldacci, two former rivals, had joined the campaign “to bring the U.S. debt to sustainable levels.”
Photo caption: Former Gov. John Baldacci, left, and Rick Bennett, right, at a Fix the Debt news conference in Portland on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012. Credit: John Richardson.
What are leaders saying?
“As a businessman and former elected official, I am worried about Congress’ ability to reach a national debt deal,” said former State Senate President Bennett (R-ME). “If we continue to ignore this growing problem, our economy will suffer the consequences. We can expect slower growth, lower wages and higher interest rates. We need Congress to hammer out a meaningful debt reduction plan now.”
“Years of political partisanship have gone too far. We can’t afford to play politics with the fiscal cliff,” said Fix the Debt—Maine Co-Chair and former Governor John Baldacci (D-ME). “Most Americans agree that $16 trillion is too much debt and that we need to rein it in. Now is the time to address the debt problems we have let fester for too long.”
Today, the national debt exceeds $16 trillion and continues to grow. On January 1, the country faces a hazardous combination of spending cuts and tax expirations – known as the “fiscal cliff” – that the Congressional Budget Office predicts would cause the economy to shrink in 2013. According to figures released by the American Action Forum, Maine could lose 46,085 jobs if the fiscal cliff is not averted.
Organized by the Campaign to Fix the Debt, Bennett joined business leaders, former elected officials, policy experts, and other concerned citizens from eight states for the fly-in event to ask lawmakers to work together on solutions to the U.S. debt problems.