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Gingrich Blasts Deficit Super Committee at Heritage -- with VIDEO Gingrich Blasts Deficit Super Committee at Heritage -- with VIDEO Gingrich Blasts Deficit Super Committee at Heritage -- with VIDEO Gingrich Blasts Deficit S...

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Politics / CAMPAIGN 2012

Gingrich Blasts Deficit Super Committee at Heritage -- with VIDEO

Former House speaker and 2012 presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich says Congress is abdicating its responsibilities

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingirch speaks at the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday.(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

August 16, 2011

Instead of setting up a super-committee showdown over the nation’s deficit, lawmakers should take up the painstaking work of balancing the budget one small bipartisan compromise at a time, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said on Tuesday.

Delivering a message that seemed almost nostalgic in a year when the most partisan rhetoric is being rewarded, the former House speaker told an audience at the Heritage Foundation that Congress should get back to the old-fashioned business of making legislative deals—sometimes across party lines.

His former congressional colleagues shouldn’t shy away from voting for Democratic legislation “if the Democrats introduce a good idea,” Gingrich said.

Like most of his rivals in the Republican presidential contest, Gingrich opposed the deal to raise the debt ceiling. But Gingrich’s objections are not just about the dollars and cents. The longtime Georgia lawmaker suggested that Congress abdicated its responsibility in leaving the task of closing the nation’s budget gap to a 12-member special committee appointed by House and Senate leaders.

“Why do these 12 get extraordinary power and the rest of you are just the chorus of the Opry?” Gingrich asked. He also questioned the wisdom of the “trigger” which would require automatic, across-the-board spending cuts if the committee cannot come up with $1.5 trillion in savings. “If you have a Congress that has to invent a suicide mechanism in order to avoid something, you have a total breakdown of the legislative process,” he said.

Gingrich’s alternative: Restructure the federal government along the lines outlined by Six Sigma, a business management strategy used by corporations and the military to cut waste. It has also been satirized on 30 Rock.

The sagging state of the Republican presidential contender’s political fortunes was evident in the many empty seats during his hour-long speech at Heritage, which focused on the economy and Congress. Mike Gonzalez, an official with the conservative think tank, told the audience that Gingrich would not take campaign-related questions.  

Gingrich last weekend finished a distant eighth in the Iowa Straw Poll.

Sarah B. Boxer and Rodney Hawkins contributed. contributed to this article.

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