This week Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Ok.) proposed a comprehensive plan to reduce projected federal borrowing by $9 trillion over ten years and the bipartisan “Gang of Six” senators outlined a $4 trillion deficit-reduction plan to their colleagues. President Obama this afternoon praised the Gang of Six plan as a “very significant step” that is “broadly consistent” with the approach he has urged.
Coburn also announced today that he is rejoining the Gang. His “Back in Black” report includes over 600 pages of detailed recommendations for achieving $9 trillion in deficit reduction from the entire federal budget, including domestic discretionary spending, defense, entitlement programs, and revenues.
The plan includes nearly $1 trillion in savings from eliminating and reforming tax expenditures, which have increased in recent years and often benefit special interests. Coburn also released a report detailing wasteful spending in his own state.
Coburn, along with Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Id.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), and Mark Warner (D-Va.), has been a member of the bipartisan “Gang of Six” that has worked this year to develop a deficit-reduction plan. Coburn had withdrawn from the group after a disagreement over spending cuts.
Coburn announced his decision to return at a meeting today where the group presented the outlines of its plan to Senate colleagues. The proposal is based on the recommendations of the President’s fiscal commission and would reduce the deficit by nearly $4 trillion over ten years.
While members of both parties will undoubtedly criticize many aspects of each plan, Coburn and the other members of the “Gang of Six” deserve credit for going beyond speeches on fiscal responsibility to place specific proposals on the table for discussion. Before rushing to attack the difficult choices made in the plans, critics should propose alternatives.