The Concord Coalition last week honored 38 “economic patriots” in the U.S. House for their votes in favor of a broad, bipartisan deficit-reduction plan earlier this year. Former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, a Concord co-chairman, presented the organization’s 2012 Paul E. Tsongas Economic Patriot Award to the House members -- both Democrats and Republicans -- at a dinner in Washington marking the 20th anniversary of Concord’s founding.Nunn praised the “Great 38” for standing up to pressure from colleagues and special interests. They did so in supporting fiscal reform legislation that had been introduced by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio).“They point the way, very courageously, that must be followed by our nation,” Nunn said of the 38 lawmakers. He lauded them for “putting their country before their party” and for embodying a “spirit of bipartisanship and fiscal stewardship.”The Cooper-LaTourette legislation was based on the recommendations of a bipartisan majority of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (the Simpson-Bowles commission). Cooper and LaTourette accepted the award on behalf of all of the honorees -- most of whom attended the dinner -- and praised them for their political courage.“It was a tough vote for everybody,” said LaTourette, who noted the heavy special-interest pressure that supporters of the legislation in both parties faced.
“This was not an easy thing to do,” Cooper said. “And yet they did it. They did it for the good of the country.”