Senators Coburn and Durbin Receive Economic Patriot Award

WASHINGTON -- The Concord Coalition honored Senators Dick Durbin and Tom Coburn last night with the 2014 Paul E. Tsongas Economic Patriot Award for their strong advocacy of fiscal responsibility and reform.

Both senators have been willing to reach across the aisle for bipartisan solutions and to make difficult decisions, despite some criticism even from within their own parties, Robert L. Bixby, Concord’s executive director, said at the award ceremony in Washington.

Bixby also noted that Coburn (R-Okla.) and Durbin (D-Ill.) were heavily involved with the “Gang of Six” efforts that showed far-sighted fiscal leadership in the Senate. Both senators also served as members of the Simpson-Bowles commission and supported its comprehensive deficit-reduction plan.

Bixby said one of Coburn’s trademarks has been his “devotion to reducing unnecessary spending,” adding that his commitment “reveals his passion for a sustainable fiscal solution and one that will benefit Americans today and those for coming generations.”

Bixby said Durbin, the minority whip in the Senate, “has used his unique status as a Democratic leader and a progressive…to argue that policies that will make Medicare and Social Security sustainable are good for both fiscal responsibility and retirement security.”

In accepting the award, Durbin said he worries about the future of federal health care and retirement programs, noting “we only have a limited time to fix some of these programs or we’re going to reach a crisis, a catastrophe.”

Durbin said liberals in his own party should be concerned about the rapid growth in entitlement programs in part because that growth threatens to crowd out funding for other government priorities like medical research. .

Concord Coalition board member and former senator Judd Gregg accepted the award on Coburn’s behalf, called him “the conscience of the Congress on fiscal issues.”

The Patriot Award is named for the late Paul E. Tsongas, one of Concord’s founding co-chairs. It honors those who have demonstrated a commitment to fiscal responsibility and the protection of younger generations from irresponsible budget policies. Over the years Concord has given the award to individuals of varied backgrounds and political affiliations.


The Concord Coalition is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to fiscal responsibility. Since 1992, we have worked to educate the public about the causes and consequences of the federal deficit and debt, and to develop realistic solutions to achieve sustainable budgets. For more fiscal news and analysis, visit or see us on and follow us on Twitter: @ConcordC

Photography provided by DC Event Photo.