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Thursday November 03, 2011 | 01:06 PM

Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st, was one of 60 House Democrats and 40 House Republicans to sign on to a letter to the so-called congressional super committee calling for a mix of new revenues – meaning tax hikes - along with spending cuts.

Rep. Mike Michaud, D-2nd, wasn’t a signer of the letter, but agrees with the sentiments, his office said.

The bipartisan letter to the leaders of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, charged under this summer’s debt ceiling deal with the mandate of reaching at least $1.2 trillion in savings, says that it’s crucial the committee come up with a plan to recommend to the full Congress. If a plan isn’t formed by the super committee, that triggers $1.2 trillion across the board spending cuts that lawmakers could not control and that could hit hard in areas such as defense spending and social programs.

“To succeed, all options for mandatory and discretionary spending and revenues must be on the table,” state the letter, an unusual display of bipartisanship from House Democrats and Republicans. “In addition, we know from other bipartisan frameworks that a target of some $4 trillion in deficit reduction is necessary to stabilize our debt as a share of the economy and assure America’s fiscal well-being.”

The stance isn’t a new one for Pingree, who has for months been calling for “balanced approach” of a mix of tax hikes, including raising taxes on wealthy Americans and ending oil company subsidies, and spending cuts to address the nation’s deficit and debt problem.

“We definitely need to bring the deficit under control but we need to take a balanced approach, and that includes rolling back tax breaks for millionaires and ending subsidies for big oil companies,” Pingree said via email Thursday when asked about her participation in the letter.

While Michaud wasn’t among the bipartisan group of 100 signers on this letter, he has expressed similar sentiments, and hopes the committee “reaches a substantial, balanced deal on reducing the debt, said Ed Gilman, Michaud’s press secretary.

Michaud said in a statement that, “I have long called for debt reduction that is balanced and substantial enough to truly put us on a path toward fiscal sanity. I am hopeful that the committee reaches a significant, bipartisan deal soon.”


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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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