Baucus, Murray, and Kerry on the Joint Committee

The three Democratic Senators on the Joint Committee--Max Baucus (D-MT), Patty Murray (D-WA), and John Kerry (D-MA)--have a lofty op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. In it, they talk about the need for bipartisanship and their willingness to contribute to a plan that helps solve the deficit problem.

This moment demands leadership, but it also demands consensus. The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction was set up to require bipartisanship, and we are going to work hard to achieve it. We know that each of us comes into this committee with clear ideas on the issues and what our priorities are for our nation. But a solution can only be found by merging these priorities across party lines and finding a solution that works for the American people.

Also, since all three Senators have been around for three terms or more, they all can look back to their experience with the deficit reduction agreements of the 1990s.

We know it may seem like the problems we face are intractable. But we were around in the 1990s when Democrats and Republicans came together to balance the budget and put us on the path to eliminating our national debt. As a result of our bipartisan work back then, we helped usher in an era of unrivaled prosperity, tens of millions of new jobs, and greater wealth for American families. We did that by making tough choices and casting tough votes—including raising revenue. Some of our colleagues lost their seats because of the decisions they made. But we put our country on the right track, and American families and the world are watching closely to see if we can do it again.

Of course, our struggle will be different than the 1990s, since we have a longer way back to fiscal sustainability, but we hope that the bipartisan spirit that prevailed in the 1990s will result in the changes that we need in the 2010s. The real answer as to whether this will happen will not come in op-eds, but in the fall months when the joint committee meetings occur.