August 30, 2014

Domenici-Rivlin Task Force Updates Its Plan

  • The national debt has grown significantly in recent years due to rising annual deficits. A deficit occurs in any year the government spends more...

The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) on Monday released an update of the broad plan for fiscal reform that its Debt Reduction Task Force recommended in late 2010. The update, like the original version,  takes what the task force describes as a “balanced and workable approach” that would make significant changes throughout the federal budget.

In addition, the BPC released a “Framework for a Grand Bargain and Potential Down-Payment Package” to show how such a comprehensive fiscal plan could be adopted “in light of the rapidly approaching fiscal cliff and the still-hesitant recovery.”

The original recommendations of the task force, headed by former Sen. Pete Domenici and former Congressional Budget Office Director Alice Rivlin, overlapped in many ways with the work of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (Simpson-Bowles). The plans of both groups can serve as useful models for bipartisan action by elected officials. (Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition, has served on the Domenici-Rivlin task force.)

The BPC dubbed the new update “Domenici-Rivlin 2.0” and said it shared several major themes with the original version: multi-year freezes in defense and non-defense discretionary spending, fundamental reform of federal entitlement programs to achieve “substantial savings” in coming decades, reform of the tax code that would produce additional revenue, and short-term policies to “accelerate national economic growth.”

The report says that many of the provisions of a broad debt reduction plan “ought to be phased in over time as employment and economic growth return to more typical levels.”