December 22, 2014

Help Push Congress to Take Action on Our Fiscal Challenges

By David M. Walker

Over the past 20 years The Concord Coalition has worked to build an impressive grassroots network. Given our nation’s poor financial condition and fiscal outlook, it is more important than ever to inspire action within that grassroots network. The next three months are critical in regards to addressing our nation’s huge and mounting fiscal challenge.

There are many fiscal issues that need to be resolved in the next 100 days, and the action, or lack of action, taken will largely determine whether a fiscal “Grand Bargain” is going to be reached in 2013. While the debt ceiling was extended until May 19, the sequester (across the board defense and other spending cuts) will take place on March 1, unless there is congressional action. Presently, it does not appear that Congress will reach a deal to avert the sequester, but even if it did, there are other key deadlines ahead. The continuing resolution that is funding all government agencies expires on March 27, and that’s not even on Congress’ radar at the moment. A joint budget resolution is supposed to be achieved by April 15, and the debt ceiling issue will come up again after that.

These issues must be dealt with, and we must quit moving from one short-term cliff to the next. But how can Congress make any real progress if members are spending most of their time outside of Washington? Between February and May, both the Senate and the House will spend 5 weeks in recess and outside of Washington. Meanwhile, America’s mounting debt threatens America’s position in the world and the economic security of all our families.

My organization, the Comeback America Initiative, has joined with The Can Kicks Back and the Common Sense Coalition to launch a campaign titled Tell Congress: No Deal, No Break. It is a nonpartisan campaign telling congressional leaders that Congress needs to spend more time in Washington to do its job. The new message for Washington is: Don’t take any long breaks until you reach a deal that will reduce our debt to a sustainable level over time.

To help deliver this message to Congress, the first thing you can do is join the campaign. On that page you can take quizzes to learn more about Congress’s planned schedule, and how much we pay members for the debt they have accumulated. Most importantly, you can sign the petition addressed to the House and Senate leadership that tells Congress not to take any more long breaks until it reaches a deal that brings our debt to a sustainable level. If you do not have Facebook you can sign the petition here. Continue to check the page for updates and remember to share it with others in your community.

It is time for “We the People” to come together to ensure a better future for our country, our families and future generations. Individuals can make a difference if we stand united. The Concord Coalition draws its name from the Battle of Concord, which taught us that there is power in collective action. Now is the time for us to join together and demand better from Washington. Our collective future depends on it.

David M. Walker, a former U.S. comptroller general, is the founder and CEO of the Comeback America Initiative.