Two unsuccessful Republican congressional candidates and two GOP state lawmakers Thursday launched the Georgia chapter of a national coalition dedicated to reducing the federal debt.
In the midst of a sharply partisan presidential campaign, the co-chairmen of the Georgia chapter of The Campaign to Fix the Debt called on Republicans and Democrats in Washington to put aside their political differences and address a growing problem.
The federal budget, which showed a surplus just a dozen years ago, has grown under the last two presidents – RepublicanGeorge W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama – to a $1 trillion annual deficit. As a consequence, the nation’s total debt has ballooned to $16 trillion.
“It is the No.-1 national security issue, fiscal issue and economic issue,” Martha Zoller, a conservative radio talk show host from Gainesville who lost in this year’s 9th Congressional District Republican primary, said during a news conference at the state Capitol.
“If we don’t get this debt under control … this economy could collapse,” added Rick Allen, who unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination in Georgia’s 12th Congressional District.
Phil Smith, national political director for The Concord Coalition, a bipartisan Washington, D.C.-based public policy group that advocates for deficit reduction, said several deficit-reduction plans have been floated that call for a combination of spending cuts, reforms to entitlement programs and changes in tax policy.
He expressed optimism that Washington politicians would be willing to move on the issue once the election is over.
“There’s a difference between campaigning and governing,” Smith said. “My hope is we’ll have some governing plans after the first Tuesday in November.”