Kerry: Supercommittee Will Test My Negotiating Skills

Monday, 22 Aug 2011 11:21 AM

By Greg McDonald

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Sen. John Kerry says in an interview with the Boston Globe that it will take a lot of hard work and compromise to get beyond partisan bickering, produce a plan that curbs federal spending, and helps relieve the nation’s anxiety over the economy.
As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Massachusetts Democrat is no stranger to diplomatic negotiations, a skill he acknowledges  will be needed when the deficit-reduction supercommittee begins work after Labor Day.
“It’s going to take a lot of hard work. It’s going to take compromise. I think the urgency of our economy is such that hopefully it will sink in to every member that the nation is waiting for a responsible set of choices,” Kerry told the Boston Globe in an article published Monday.
Kerry is one of 12 members — six Republicans and six Democrats — appointed to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, which is charged with recommending $1.5 trillion in spending cuts by a Nov. 23 deadline. Failure to meet that deadline could result in an automatic $1.2 trillion in spending cuts, half of which will come from the Pentagon.
Kerry acknowledged that pressures on the six senators and six House members will be huge, given the lobbying campaigns that will shift into high gear when the committee convenes.
“There will be enormous pressures from various quarters, and our job is to pick through that and do what’s in the best interest of the country,” he said.
Kerry’s already begun reaching out for input to some of his former colleagues. According to the Globe, one of his first calls was to former Republican Sen. Alan K. Simpson of Wyoming, who was co-chair of the presidential debt commission. Simpson told the newspaper that Kerry is “serious business.”
The paper said Kerry has also spoken to former Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete V. Domenici of New Mexico — another Republican who has helped produce a deficit reduction plan.

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