Rep. Jim Matheson joined a large group of Republicans and Democrats on Wednesday to urge the so-called SuperCommittee to come back with substantial cuts to the federal budget. The committee, which is tasked with recommending a way to slash at least $1.2 trillion from the government's spending, is due back with its suggestions by early next week.
Matheson, Utah's lone Democrat in Congress, says the committee should report back with $4 trillion in cuts.
"Going bigger in some ways is easier, because you really force everything to be on the table," Matheson said, noting that when everyone has shared sacrifices in cuts, "You're not creating winners and losers."
"I think that's the way the SuperCommittee ought to be looking at this," he added.
Congress must agree or disagree with the committee's recommendations by Nov. 23rd, unless the body punts the deadline, a treacherous move with financial markets awaiting action.
Matheson, who signed a letter with some 150 members of Congress urging the committee to "go big," says he knows the cuts will be difficult to swallow but instead of protecting sacred cows in the budget, making larger cuts would force everyone to take a lump or two.
"What you have to do is put forth a program where people feel that they're all together," Matheson said. "Path they're on is not sustainable. We all ought to be affected by it."
Of course, it's unclear if the SuperCommittee - technically called the U.S. Congress Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction - can actually come back with a report for Congress to consider. News out of the Capitol today is that committee members are digging in their heels and compromise may be unobtainable.
-- Thomas Burr