Mike Honda speaks out on deficit reduction

Letting the Bush-era tax cuts sunset and ending military spending in Afghanistan and Iraq would go a long way toward getting the nation out of its deficit hole, Rep. Mike Honda told constituents today.

honda.jpgHonda, D-San Jose, held a conference call to tell voters how the Budget Control Act passed last month will affect their lives and what the so-called “Super Committee” is tasked with doing now.

The bipartisan, 12-member Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction has until Nov. 23 to decide how to further reduce the nation’s deficit; if Congress doesn’t approve a plan for $1.2 trillion in additional deficit reduction by Jan. 15, bone-deep cuts will be automatically triggered.

Honda said today that the debt-limit showdown that led to the committee’s creation was “engineered” for political reasons.

“This was a manufactured crisis” in which Republicans “turned our routine housekeeping issue of raising the debt limit into a crisis when they should have been focused on jobs,” he said. “We do have deficits and we do have debt, but we need to look at how we got there.”

The committee should focus on job creation initiatives that will help buoy the economy and reduce the deficit, while increasing revenue by returning rich Americans’ tax rates to what they were during the Clinton era’s surplus years and continuing to draw down military resources from Afghanistan and Iraq, Honda said. He had listeners follow along with a presentation posted on his website to advance his arguments.

Honda spokesman Michael Shank said word of the call had been put out on Facebook and Twitter, on the congressman’s website and e-newsletter, and via a mailer; “a couple hundred” constituents actually dialed in, he said. “Definitely not as big as our telephone town halls (where we have a several thousand) but that’s because we do those in the evening and use a calling service to call out to constituents. Here we relied on people calling in of their own volition.”

Honda serves on the House Budget and Appropriations committees. He also chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ Budget Task Force and so elped draft the caucus’ “People’s Budget,” which the caucus says would eliminate the deficit in 10 years, put Americans back to work and restore the nation’s economic competitiveness. The budget among other things calls for letting the Bush tax cuts sunset, ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, creating a public health care option, eliminates the individual Social Security payroll cap and invests in education and infrastructure.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    And what does an obscure minority party back-bencher like Honda have to do with anything?

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    You can rely on the prog caucus to present the best ideas of the 1900s.