Remembering Alice Rivlin, a Champion of Fiscal Reform

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The Concord Coalition mourns the passing of Alice Rivlin — a dedicated public servant and one of the nation’s foremost authorities on its fiscal and economic challenges. She was also a tireless advocate of budget reform who shared her knowledge with everyone from Washington insiders to ordinary citizens across the country.

“The nation has lost an indefatigable champion of fiscal sanity, bipartisan cooperation and public engagement,” said Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The  Concord Coalition. “Throughout her long career she set an exemplary standard for public service and scholarship. At The Concord Coalition, we were privileged to have her wise advice and enthusiastic participation in many projects over the years. It is hard to imagine the budget world without her but we will not forget the many lessons she taught us, the admiration she inspired and the infectious joy she brought to her work.”

Alice Rivlin


Rivlin held a variety of important public roles. From 1975 to 1983, she served as the founding director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which provides critical economic and fiscal projections for elected officials and the public. Her work at CBO established that agency as a credible, nonpartisan source of information.

During the Clinton administration, she was director of the Office of Management and Budget. In the late 1990s she served as vice chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

In 2010 Rivlin was named to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (often called “the Simpson-Bowles commission”). In addition, she and former Sen. Pete Domenici co-chaired the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force. Both panels sought broad fiscal changes that would have put the country on a more sustainable path.

“Alice wanted to get things done. She was willing to listen to all sides and was not afraid to either think big or to get into the weeds,” Bixby said.

Rivlin was affiliated for more than 60 years with the Brookings Institution, which in a statement Tuesday called her “a passionate advocate for a bipartisan approach to policy-making” and noted: “As the policy environment grew increasingly—and often unbearably—polarized, she consistently encouraged policymakers to reach across the aisle and put the American people first.”

Rivlin received Concord’s 2013 Paul E. Tsongas Economic Patriot Award.

Here are links to videos from some of Alice’s many appearances at Concord events:

The Fiscal Wake-Up Tour in North Carolina, 2010

The Strengthening of America Project, 2012

Conference at the Rudman Center at UNH Law School, 2013

The Concord Coalition’s Economic Patriot Award Dinner, 2018

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