Short-term improvements in the federal government’s finances have led to widespread complacency in Washington about fiscal reform.
But a panel discussion this week highlighted the continuing need for such reform, with former members of Congress lamenting the sharp political divisions within the two major parties as well as between them that hinder constructive change.
“We have a fiscal challenge which is really a political challenge which really is a societal challenge. . . .the two parties are more polarized than ever before,” said Evan Bayh, a former senator (D-Ind.). “The Democratic Party has moved further left, the Republican Party has moved even further right.”
Mike Castle, a former congressman (R-Del.), sounded a similar theme, noting the pressures faced by moderates in both parties. “The Congress of the United States today,” he said, “is a difficult place.”
The panel discussion took place in Washington on Wednesday night, when The Concord Coalition honored Senators Dick Durbin and Tom Coburn with the 2014 Paul E. Tsongas Economic Patriot Award.
Joining Bayh and Castle for the panel discussion were former senator Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), former House member John Tanner (D-Tenn.) and Concord Coalition Executive Director Robert L. Bixby.
Castle and Tanner are Concord’s co-...