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SD congressional delegation bemoans supercommittee's failure

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- South Dakota's three members of Congress all expressed dismay and disappointment at the failure of the congressional supercommittee to find a deficit reduction solution.

All three issued statements Monday shortly after the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction announced it could not reach a proposal to reduce the nation's deficit, triggering $1.2 trillion in mandatory spending cuts starting in 2013.

Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., said the failure is another sign of the over- whelming politicization of government. "The lack of agreement is very disappointing," Noem said. "The Joint Committee was specifically designed to help break gridlock, but it seems that compromise has once again taken a back seat to partisanship."

Noem said Democrats caused the effort to fail but both sides dropped the ball.

"I believe Republicans were willing to meet halfway by offering a proposal that would have cut spending and provided additional revenue through pro-growth tax reform," she said.

"Neither party can reduce our deficit alone. We must find a way to work together to tackle our debt problem before it's too late."

Sen. John Thune said the Democrats were unwilling to make hard choices.

"Instead of joining Republicans in making tough decisions to address our nation's runaway entitlement spending, Democrats would rather increase taxes on America's job creators," said Thune, R-S.D.

"While congressional Republicans continue to work to find serious solutions to reduce our nation's dangerous level of debt, President Obama continues to focus on campaigning for re-election. Since taking office, the president has failed to propose serious budgets that address unsustainable spending and entitlement programs and instead has punted on the greatest fiscal challenge facing our nation."

A great deal of the potential cuts in federal spending will now come from the Defense Department, and Thune said he is paying close attention to that.

"I will do everything I can to ensure our national security needs are not disproportionately impacted as a result of the across-the-board cuts that will be triggered in 2013, due to Democrats' unwillingness to reduce spending," he said.

Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., said politics triumphed over government.

"I am disappointed by yet another failure to compromise for the sake of the nation's interests," Johnson said. "We cannot afford to keep putting ideological purity ahead of common sense."