October 25, 2014

Bipartisan Plan Provides Framework for the Future

  • The federal budget is an expression of our country's values. Where we choose to spend and at what levels, how and who we tax, and the borrowing we...

A fiscal reform plan based on comprehensive recommendations by a bipartisan majority of the Simpson-Bowles commission made it to the House floor last week, where 22 Democrats and 16 Republicans joined to give it their support.
 
Although a House majority eventually approved a more partisan budget resolution, the development of the bipartisan alternative – presented by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio) – “signaled an important breakthrough,” according to Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition.
 
“It demonstrated growing frustration with the starkly partisan plans that members are routinely pressured to choose from and established a framework upon which future bipartisan efforts can be built,” Bixby writes in a new blog post.
 
He offers high praise to the 38 House members who bravely voted for the Cooper-LaTourette plan despite heavy opposition to it from many other lawmakers as well as special interests. Concord urges voters to express their appreciation for these lawmakers and to encourage others to follow their example.
 
“I would look at this as the beginning and not the end,” Bixby says in a new Concord video.

The Cooper-LaTourette plan is based on the recommendations in 2010 of a bipartisan majority of the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (Simpson-Bowles). They called for a comprehensive approach to fiscal reform that combined defense and domestic spending cuts, changes in the entitlement programs, and tax reform with additional revenue for deficit reduction.

Future efforts along the lines of the Cooper-LaTourette plan will be needed because the budget is on an unsustainable long-term track. And in the shorter term, large tax cuts are scheduled to expire at the end of this year, sharp new “automatic” spending cuts are supposed to begin next January, and the federal debt limit will likely need to be raised again at about the same time.

Because of all this, Bixby says, “by the end of this year Congress is going to have to do something.” The result, he adds, could eventually end up being something very much like the Cooper-LaTourette plan.

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