New Report on Nation’s Fiscal Health Shows Need for Broad Reforms

Submitted by skrueger on Thu, 01/19/2017 - 11:35

With a new administration coming into office, a report on the nation’s fiscal health provides a timely and emphatic reminder of the need for the new president and Congress to pursue sweeping long-term changes in the federal budget.

Released this week by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the report provides a good look at the nation’s unsustainable fiscal path and deserves close scrutiny by elected officials in both parties.

What's Another $9.1 Trillion?

Submitted by bbixby on Tue, 01/17/2017 - 12:37

An amazing thing happened in Washington recently. With the total national debt about to top $20 trillion and on an unsustainable long-term path, 376 members of the House of Representatives voted for one of two Fiscal Year 2017 budget resolutions that would add another $9.1 trillion to the debt over next 10 years.

One version was passed by the House with 227 Republican votes. Nine Republicans voted in opposition. The other version was a Democratic amendment that was defeated with 37 Democrats voting in opposition.

Questions and Concerns About GOP Health Care Plans

Submitted by swinn on Mon, 01/16/2017 - 12:31

While the budget resolution that congressional Republicans approved last week was designed to speed repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), budget analysts and some lawmakers in both parties have expressed understandable concerns about such hasty action before a replacement health care plan is ready.

Chase Hagaman Headshot

Chase A. Hagaman is the New England regional director of The Concord Coalition and host of Concord's weekly radio show, "Facing the Future."  

Concord is a nonpartisan organization that encourages fiscal responsibility in Washington and helps to raise public awareness about the need for responsible fiscal policies that protect our children and future generations. 

As a regional director in the field, Hagaman works with community leaders, student groups, business organizations, Concord volunteers, and elected officials across New England and upstate New York. He organizes public education events, performs media outreach and engages volunteers.

As host of "Facing the Future," Hagaman dives into topics related to U.S. fiscal policy -- like health care, taxes, national security, the national debt and more -- with budget experts, industry leaders, elected officials and candidates for public office. The program is broadcast on Concord, New Hampshire radio station WKXL every Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. It is also available via podcast.

Hagaman is a resident of New Hampshire and member of the New Hampshire Bar. He received his law degree from the University of New Hampshire and a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of South Florida. Hagaman’s work with law firms, the court system and state and municipal agencies helped shape his passion for public policy. He invests his personal time in his community, including serving on local boards and coaching high school rowing.

Hagaman joined Concord to champion the mission of its founders, the late Senators Warren Rudman and Paul Tsongas. As part of the next generation of leaders, Hagaman has become an ardent advocate for lasting reform who works to bridge generational gaps as he brings awareness to fiscal issues.

Picture of Steve Winn

Steve Winn is the communications director for The Concord Coalition. He handles media requests and works with the organization’s policy experts in preparing issue briefs, blogs, op-ed articles and broadcast commentary. He edits the newsletter that Concord usually publishes each week Congress is in session.

Winn also speaks to college classes, community groups and other organizations about the nation’s fiscal and economic challenges. He is involved with Concord’s grassroots programs around the country, working with the organization’s field staff and local partners in presenting public forums and deficit-reduction exercises. He arranges briefings for newspaper editorial boards and other journalists.

Winn has taught courses on the media, politics and American society at Baker University’s School of Professional and Graduate Studies in the Kansas City area.

Before joining Concord in 2009, he held several reporting and editing positions during a 30-year career at The Kansas City Star. As the paper’s deputy editorial page editor, he frequently wrote about national politics, economics, health care policy and the need for fiscal reform.

Winn has a master's degree in liberal arts with an emphasis in history from Baker University and a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northwestern University.

The Concord Coalition is a national, nonpartisan organization dedicated to fiscal responsibility and reform. It was founded in 1992 by Peter G. Peterson, former U.S. commerce secretary; Warren Rudman, a Republican senator from New Hampshire, and Paul Tsongas, a former Democratic senator from Massachusetts.

Robert Bixby Headshot

Robert L. Bixby is executive director of The Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan organization that encourages fiscal responsibility in Washington and helps educate the public about the federal budget and the need to protect our children and future generations from excessive government debt.

Bixby joined Concord in 1992 and served in several positions, including policy director and national field director, before being named executive director in 1999. He has served as a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force (the Domenici-Rivlin commission), which produced a model plan for comprehensive fiscal reform.

He frequently speaks around the country on the nation’s fiscal challenges and possible bipartisan solutions, including greater government efficiency, tax reform and improvements in the entitlement program. He has testified at congressional hearings and been interviewed by news organizations around the country. Bixby has appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN and Fox News.

He and The Concord Coalition’s “Fiscal Wake-Up Tour” were also featured prominently in the critically-acclaimed documentary film “I.O.U.S.A.”

Bixby has a bachelor's degree in political science from American University, a juris doctorate from George Mason University School of Law, and a master's degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Before joining Concord, he practiced law and served as the chief staff attorney of the Court of Appeals of Virginia.

Josh Gordon Headshot

Joshua B. Gordon is the Policy Director of The Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to educating the public about federal budget issues and their consequences for the future. The Concord Coalition was founded in 1992 by the late U.S. Senators Warren Rudman (R-NH) and Paul Tsongas (D-MA), and former Secretary of Commerce Peter G. Peterson.

Mr. Gordon directs The Concord Coalition's research on the federal budget, health care policy and tax policy and is the editor of Concord's blog. He frequently discusses Concord’s positions in public speeches and interviews with the media. He also directs Concord’s classroom curriculum and its budget simulations, and was a research advisor for the Sundance Film Festival Documentary I.O.U.S.A. He has been with Concord since 2001.

Mr. Gordon has a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Florida and wrote his dissertation on the budget process and the House Appropriations Committee. He also has a Master’s degree from the University of Florida and taught classes there on American Politics and on Congress. He recently served as an Adjunct Professor for the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Pass Biennial Budgeting to Fix a Broken Budget Process

Submitted by plarue on Mon, 09/26/2016 - 09:51

Even casual observers of today’s federal budget process can see it is badly broken.

Congress has repeatedly failed to pass budget resolutions. Failure to pass appropriations bills has become the norm, forcing lawmakers to rely on continuing resolutions, bills that simply extend prior spending regardless of shifting priorities. And efforts to negotiate legislation on a long-term fiscal plan are non-existent.