NRCC targets Rep. Heath Shuler, charging Democrat “negligence” in failed deficit reduction deal

An email sent out by the National Republican Congressional Committee targets 11th District Rep. Heath Shuler, blaming the Haywood County Democrat for what seems to be the impending failure of the bipartisian “Super Committee” to endorse a plan to cut the deficit. Shuler wasn’t on the committee, but was a leader of a coalition that was pushing members to aim for at least $4 trillion in deficit cuts, not just the minimum $1.2 trillion. Soon after the email was sent by the NRCC, Shuler sent out his own statement criticizing the committee as well.

Meanwhile, The Huffington Post covered the Nov. 21 email attack on its homepage, featuring an image of Shuler looking frustrated.

Earlier this year, the Republican North Carolina General Assembly proposed a redistricting plan that siphons most of Asheville’s reliably Democratic voters from Shuler’s 11th District, which observers say will likely make the incumbent more vulnerable to a Republican challenger next year. The plans are currently undergoing a series of legal challenges, however, today’s email attack from the NRCC could be the opening salvo in its effort to soften his support and unseat him.

Here’s the full statement from the NRCC:

Since the Beginning of the Super Committee’s Negotiations, Shuler Has Been Rooting for Failure With Dem Leaders Unwilling to Fix Washington, Shuler Doesn’t have to Give up his Failed Policies

Washington — With the deadline for the Super Committee’s proposal days away, the negligence that Democrat members have shown proves how they are not ready to give up their irresponsible fiscal policies as they continue to root for failure. As the debt continues to mount, Heath Shuler and his party leaders are neither interested nor involved in wanting to make the government live within its means.

“Without fail, Democrats have refused to get serious about restoring fiscal accountability in Washington as they show a blatant lack of interest in giving up their limitless credit card that has spiraled America’s debt out of control,” said NRCC Communication Director Paul Lindsay. “The message that Democrats like Heath Shuler are sending to North Carolina families is that they would rather play political games with their tax dollars than promote policies that encourage a healthy economy and a strong job market.”

With the national debt hitting the $15 trillion mark last week, the need for substantive fiscal reform is more urgent than ever: “The United States’ debt on Wednesday exceeded $15 trillion, according to the Treasury Department’s ‘Debt to the Penny’ website.” (Brian Montopoli, “National debt crosses $15 trillion mark,” CBS News’ Political Hotsheet Blog, 11/16/11)
However, Chris Van Hollen and his fellow Democrat Super Committee members prove that the Democratic Party is not interested in actually working to finding a common-sense solution:
“But about three or four weeks ago, [Van Hollen] came to the conclusion that we weren’t going to get anywhere, and started throwing cold water on everyone else’s ideas.”

“Two Super Committee members — Reps. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) — never really checked into the conversation, according to numerous participants on both sides. A Democrat explained: ‘There’s a basic threshold for our guys that any deal has to be better than what would happen with no deal. There were some folks who never really saw us get close to [that] threshold.’” (Mike Allen, Politico’s “Playbook”, 11/20/2011)
The uncertainty Chris Van Hollen and his party members like Heath Shuler are instilling in Americans is preventing the economy from recovering. Heath Shuler refuses to get the government’s fiscal house in order even as North Carolina families demand that Democrats come to the table and stop playing games with their futures.

Update: Rep. Shuler’s office released the following statement later in the day:

“It is shameful that the Super Committee allowed partisan politics to obstruct the meaningful fiscal reform our nation needs for long-term economic stability and job growth,” said Rep. Shuler. “Failure was not an option for the 12 members of the Super Committee, and their inability to reach a compromise on a deficit reduction strategy may now have a devastating impact on our national economy and global markets. This failure is beyond disappointing, especially in light of the broad bipartisan, bicameral support the Super Committee had from nearly 150 Members in Congress to ‘Go Big’ and come up with a comprehensive, $4 trillion deficit reduction plan that puts our country on a long-term fiscally sustainable path.”


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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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