Bipartisan Group of Former Members of Congress to Host Four Forums on National Fiscal Crisis

Press Release
Friday, September 07, 2012

WASHINGTON, September 7, 2012 – Former U.S. senators Sam Nunn (D-GA), Pete Domenici (R-NM), Warren Rudman (R-NH), and Evan Bayh (D-IN) have convened a bipartisan group of former senators and representatives to come together for four forums between now and the first presidential debate to raise public consciousness of the country’s growing and unsustainable debt. They are calling their effort, Strengthening of America—Our Children’s Future.

“We believe that while the worst effects of the national debt are probably long term, there is an urgency to this issue that no longer allows us to kick the can down the road,” said the four former senators in a joint statement. “Neither party seems willing to address this issue with either common sense or simple arithmetic. There are current members of both parties, however, who understand the stakes and who are willing to work together by putting the country first. We hope to support, strengthen, and help add to that group.”

Each of the four forums will resemble a congressional hearing, with high-level former U.S. government officials providing remarks before a panel of former elected representatives. The effort is a joint project of the Concord Coalition, the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the American Business Conference, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University.

The first session, scheduled for Wednesday, September 12, from 9:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at CSIS, 1800 K Street, N.W., in Washington, D.C., will look at America’s long-term fiscal challenge, providing a big picture overview of the financial and international economic implications of the nation’s fiscal outlook. Speakers will include former U.S. secretary of the treasury Robert Rubin and, via satellite, former U.S. secretary of the treasury and secretary of state James A. Baker III.

Future sessions will focus on the national security implications of the debt, bipartisan plans for addressing the problem, pro-growth tax reform, and the imperative of entitlement and health care cost control. Strengthening of America—Our Children’s Future, is working closely and coordinating with the Campaign to Fix the Debt, the Comeback America Initiative, and the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s ongoing efforts to call attention to the fiscal challenges threatening America’s future.

The Steering Committee for Strengthening of America includes the following former members of Congress: Howard Baker (R-TN), Bob Bennett (R-UT), David Boren (D-OK), Bill Brock (R-TN), Richard Bryan (D-NV), Mike Castle (R-DE), Jack Danforth (R-MO), Tom Davis (R-VA), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Mickey Edwards (R-OK), Daniel Evans (R-WA), Bill Frenzel (R-MN), Dan Glickman (D-KS), Slade Gorton (R-WA), Bob Graham (D-FL), William Gray (D-PA), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Jane Harman (D-CA), J. Bennett Johnston (D-LA), Nancy Kassebaum (R-KS), David McCurdy (D-OK), Jim Nussle (R-IA), Tim Penny (D-MN), Chuck Robb (D-VA), Tim Roemer (D-IN), Alan Simpson (R-WY), Charlie Stenholm (D-TX), John Tanner (D-TN), Tom Tauke (R-IA), and Tim Wirth (D-CO).

“Too many people assume it is impossible for Republicans and Democrats to work together,” said Senators Nunn, Domenici, Rudman, and Bayh in their joint statement. “Our experience tells us that it is not only possible—it is absolutely essential. While we are not naïve about the unlikely prospect of any agreement until after the election, there are plans currently on the table—like Simpson/Bowles and Domenici/Rivlin—that are bipartisan, that put everything on the table, and that provide a useful starting point for debate and agreement. We need to focus attention on this vital issue today to preserve our children’s future tomorrow.”

For press inquiries on Strengthening of America, please contact Andrew Schwartz, CSIS senior vice president for external relations, at [email protected] or call (202) 775-3242.

The effort is a joint project of the following organizations:

The Concord Coalition

The Bipartisan Policy Center

The Center for Strategic and International Studies

The American Business Conference

The James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University

The Hoover Institution at Stanford University

The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University

You can follow the initiative on Twitter @USAStronger.