Just before meeting with fiscal commission chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, President Obama delivered brief remarks in the Oval Office:
Yesterday I laid out a plan to cut $4 trillion from our deficit. It is a balanced plan that asks for shared sacrifice in order to provide shared opportunity for all Americans. And I’m very pleased today to have Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the chairs of my fiscal commission, because, very frankly, it is the framework that they developed that helps to shape my thinking on these issues.
As they pointed out in their bipartisan effort, it is important that we put everything on the table. We’ve got to take some tough decisions when it comes to domestic spending. We’ve got to look at everything, including our security spending, in order to achieve the goal that we need. It’s important that we look at our tax code and find a way to work together to not only simplify and make the tax system fairer, but also that we use it as a tool to help us achieve our deficit targets.
And it’s also important -- and I think these gentlemen share the view -- that we can’t exempt anybody from these efforts; that it’s not appropriate for us to ask for sacrifices from everybody except for the 2 percent of Americans who are doing best, but rather we should ask everybody to participate in this effort to get our fiscal house in order.
So my main purpose here today is to once again thank them for their outstanding work, but more importantly to solicit their ideas in terms of how we move forward. No matter how we may disagree between parties, no matter how much we spend time debating the issues, at some point we’re going to have to come together as Americans. And yesterday, I brought together the leaders of both chambers, leaders of both parties, to discuss with them how we could start moving rapidly to get some of these major issues resolved.
And I’m pleased that Vice President Biden is going to be heading up that effort, but we’re going to need the help of citizens who’ve served this country in extraordinary ways in the past and are continuing to do so in their spare time. I’m looking forward to having them as partners in order to get this done.