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 MerkleyJeff MerkleyOvernight Regulation: Labor groups fear rollback of Obama worker protection rule | Trump regs czar advances in Senate | New FCC enforcement chief Dems urge Sessions to reject AT&T-Time Warner merger Dems step up attacks on GOP ObamaCare bill 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 McConnellMitch McConnellMeadows: Senate bill lacks conservative support to pass House Fifth GOP senator announces opposition to healthcare bill The Hill's 12:30 Report 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 ReidDems see surge of new candidates Dems to grind Senate to a halt over ObamaCare repeal fight GOP fires opening attack on Dem reportedly running for Heller's Senate seat MORE (D-Nev.) and Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerRyan reminds lawmakers to be on time for votes Juan Williams: GOP fumbles on healthcare The Hill's 12:30 Report 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.

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