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ELKHART - U.S. Sen. Dan Coats said he regrets that after seven months of debate Congress was unable to reach a "satisfactory conclusion" to the debt ceiling but now the 12-member Super Committee must provide solutions or the economic recovery will falter and investors will lose confidence in the United States.
The Indiana Republican toured Northern Indiana Tuesday, making stops in LaGrange, Middlebury and South Bend before meeting the recreational vehicle executives in Elkhart. In a late afternoon roundtable discussion, Coats heard about the problems and concerns within the RV industry.
Getting the general economy healthy again will help all businesses and workers, including those in the RV sector, Coats said. Among the keys to spurring economic growth, he said, are comprehensive tax reform and entitlement reform.
These were two issues that arose during debt ceiling negotiations at the White House although, Coats acknowledged, were left unresolved. The essential question now is whether the six Democrats and six Republicans on the Super Committee are going to address these sacred cows.
However, he emphasized, the country has to get a credible plan in place to reassure the markets and consumers.
"The pressure on this committee of 12 will be enormous to come forward with something but, I think, the outside forces are dictating that no matter how hard it is to do, it's got to be done," Coats said. "It's going to require people to really step above politics and really step above this 2012 election to come forward with something that is, as I say, credible with investment markets and others."
A result of the wranglng over the debt ceiling, the Super Committee has been charged with finding way to curb federal spending and reduce the deficit.
The senator said if the group is unable to find a solution the result will be continued uncertainty and volatility and will move the country closer to a financial crisis. The 12 representatives have to reach to a consensus and submit a plan on which the House and Senate can vote.
"I think failure to accomplish that, on top of all the tension that arose leading up to the (debt ceiling vote), will send a very bad signal to the world - that the United States is not able to get its act together despite a dire fiscal situation," Coats said. "The world will lose confidence in the United States dollar and confidence in the United States economy."
Along with tax and entitlement reform, Coats advocates cutting government spending to get the economy moving again.
The Washington has run out of money and can no longer do everything that everybody wants it to do, he said. Instead, the federal government should copy Indiana and make government more efficient, less costly and less of a burden to the taxpayer.
Finally, Coats said he supports putting in place an "enforcement mechanism," like a balance budget amendment, to ensure the future Congresses do not put the country back into a fiscal bind.
Reforming the tax code and entitlement programs, reducing the federal budget and enforcing spending limits, "will reassure and restore confidence in the future of America," Coats said. "We will see a lot of pent demand come forward and get our economy moving again and get people back to work."