Fix the debt once and for all

Last month, the country endured a ridiculous and avoidable government shutdown and only very closely averted a federal default. These realities reflect the hyper-partisanship in Washington.

With the creation of the budget conference committee, it is vital that conferees work to put America on a sustainable fiscal path.

I was pleased to see that Wisconsin has greater representation than any other state on the 29-member budget conference committee with Rep. Paul Ryan as co-chair and Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin as conferees. That means we Wisconsinites have a special opportunity and responsibility to both support and pressure this committee to do what’s right for the country.

Most conferees agree that the sequester should be replaced with smarter, more targeted savings. But while a good idea, it’s not an achievement which would address the root causes of our precarious long-term fiscal situation. Therefore, in the best interest of all Americans, we must ask the conference committee to go further and establish a fast-track budget reconciliation process for entitlement and tax reform.

As a member of the Campaign to Fix the Debt, I stand ready to support Rep. Ryan and Senators Johnson and Baldwin throughout this process. I encourage my fellow Wisconsinites to follow suit and back their elected leaders in an effort to achieve something significant out of this committee. Temporary, small-potatoes fixes cannot continue to be acceptable.

It’s our job as citizens to make that clear to our elected officials. Please call or write their offices and make sure they hear from you.

Katherine Gehl is president and chief executive officer of Germantown-based Gehl Foods Inc. and a member of both the national CEO Fiscal Leadership Council and the Wisconsin Chapter of the Campaign to Fix the Debt.

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