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Senate Democrats urge Republicans to focus on jobs in 'supercommittee' talks

Nearly two dozen Senate Democrats are urging Republicans to focus on job creation in "supercommittee" deliberations. 

Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyPentagon: War in Afghanistan will cost billion in 2018 Trump has declared war on our climate — we won’t let him win Lawmakers left with more questions than answers on Trump infrastructure plan MORE (D-Ore.) and 22 other Democratic senators argued job creation will reduce deficits and should play a central role in the committee's discussions.

“Targeted investments in economic growth and job creation can complement and even enhance long-term deficit reduction efforts and should be a priority that the [Joint Select Committee] JSC embraces," the senators wrote in a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDems confront Kelly after he calls some immigrants 'lazy' McConnell: 'Whoever gets to 60 wins' on immigration Overnight Defense: Latest on spending fight - House passes stopgap with defense money while Senate nears two-year budget deal | Pentagon planning military parade for Trump | Afghan war will cost B in 2018 MORE (R-Ky.).

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While acknowledging that reducing deficits is a must, "We would hope that all 100 senators could agree that sacrificing job creation in the near-term to pursue that imperative would be a grave mistake," they wrote. 

"Let us be very clear: our fiscal challenge is directly linked to the jobs crisis and we cannot solve the former without tackling the latter."

So far, McConnell, Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidTo end sugar subsidies, conservatives can't launch a frontal attack House presses Senate GOP on filibuster reform A pro-science approach to Yucca Mountain appropriations MORE (D-Nev.) and Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLobbying World Freedom Caucus wants budget reforms attached to debt limit increase Trey Gowdy announces retirement from Congress MORE (R-Ohio) have made their appointments to the 12-member panel that will aim to reduce the deficits by $1.5 trillion. The three remaining picks belong to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). 

The supercommittee’s recommendations must be reported out by Nov. 23 and voted up or down in the House and Senate by Dec. 23. 

“As you know, the lack of jobs and anemic growth rate of the economy are not only enormous problems in their own right, causing great pain for millions of Americans, they are a major component of our deficit," the letter from the senators stated. "Indeed, the loss of revenue resulting from the recession accounts for nearly $4 trillion of the projected deficits over the next 10 years.”

In the letter, the senators said that during the past decade, revenues have declined by 18 percent, while domestic discretionary spending remained static. They argue rising deficits are largely attributable to lost revenues caused by the financial crisis, the recession and the high unemployment that followed. 

"Jobless workers put additional strain on our critical social safety net programs," they wrote. "As more and more Americans rely on unemployment benefits, food stamps and Medicaid, our deficits go up." 

They also argue that the debt-limit debate didn't include enough discussion of the effects of the recession on the economy, especially on the jobs front.

"Getting those individuals back to work not only allows them to be self-sufficient, it reduces federal government spending," the letter stated. 

Earlier this week, Rep. John Larson (Conn.), chairman of the Democratic Caucus, sent a letter to House members arguing to amend the recently passed debt-limit package to establish a joint select committee on job creation to operate alongside the already mandated Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. 

In a "Dear Colleague" letter, Larson argued that the nation's jobs crisis is only exacerbating its long-term fiscal problems and therefore demands Congress's immediate attention.

"This high unemployment poses a very real short-term fiscal crisis, because it drains the federal coffers through increased government spending and reduced tax revenues," Larson wrote in the Aug. 8 letter.

The Senate letter was signed by Sens. 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