In the News

By Mark Walker

He’s “dated” Republicans for a couple of Washington’s formal occasions. Now, freshman Democratic Rep. Scott Peters has locked arms with a bipartisan group of freshman lawmakers.

The group calling itself the United Solution Caucus is comprised of about 30 first-term House Republicans and Democrats who say they want to work together to solve the nation’s fiscal woes.

“We’re committed to working in good faith to try and solve these problems,” Peters said after delivering his first floor speech in which he warned looming “sequester” cuts could seriously damage San Diego’s bio-tech sector.

The group announced its formation Thursday. Its goals include reforming Medicare and Social Security, a “fair and broad tax plan” and reducing spending.

“We are committed to a new era in Congress where bipartisan solutions are the norm,” the group said in a joint statement. “We are dedicated to working with leadership to help bring these solutions to reality.”

Peters said members figure working together is the only reasonable path.

“There were two ways we could go,” he said. “We could agree with most of the electorate that Congress is a failure and will stay that way, or we take the view that we can change things.”

His biggest surprise since taking office is how little time Congress is actually in session, he said.

“It’s a shame,” he said, adding “it’s insane” that the House is in recess next week and not around to work on a deal avoiding billions in automatic cuts stemming from a 2011 budget agreement.

Economists warn that if those 10 percent across-the-board cuts take effect, the nation could be thrown back into a full-fledged recession.