Washington faces big decisions this year on budget issues that include tax cuts, “automatic” spending cuts and an increase in the federal debt limit. But recent remarks by elected officials underscore the deep differences between many Republicans and Democrats.
Because neither party has the political strength and credibility to force through its own agenda, compromise and cooperation will be essential for comprehensive reform. It is encouraging, says Concord Coalition Executive Director Robert L. Bixby, “that some responsible lawmakers in both parties seem to understand this and are pushing for constructive action.”
In a guest column this week in New Hampshire’s Nashua Telegraph, Bixby notes that this group includes Rep. Charles Bass, a Republican from that state who co-sponsored a budget resolution based on the work of a bipartisan majority of the Simpson-Bowles commission.
The measure was introduced by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio). Concord has praised it because it would include savings from all parts of the federal budget as well as tax reforms designed to close loopholes, lower rates and still help slice future deficits.
In Concord’s public forums and deficit-reduction exercises across the country, ordinary citizens can discuss their different views on federal budget priorities and reach common ground. They often ask why more of their elected representatives can’t do the same.
“It requires political courage and a firm commitment to put broad national interests above all else,” Bixby writes. “Bass and the other House members who voted for Cooper-LaTourette showed such courage and commitment – even in the face of intense lobbying from special interests.”
Read more with Some Willing to Make Tough Choices on Federal Budget