January 31, 2011
Member Statements for Final Commission Report
The Moment of Truth: Report of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
Presidential commission to hear from budget experts
WASHINGTON – The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, the bi-partisan commission charged with identifying policies to improve the fiscal situation of the federal budget in the medium term and to achieve long-term fiscal sustainability, will hold its next public meeting on Wednesday, September 29 at 9:30am ET in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. The 18-member commission will hear from three witnesses:
- Dr. Paul Posner, Director of the Public Administration Program, George Mason University,
- Janet St. Laurent, Managing Director, Defense Capabilities and Management, Government Accountability Office
- Patricia Dalton, Managing Director, Natural Resources and Environment, Government Accountability Office
Dr. Posner will discuss performance budgeting. Ms. St. Laurent and Ms. Dalton will discuss finding potential budget savings from addressing duplication and overlap and eliminating wasteful spending.
WHO: The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
WHAT: Public meeting to discuss budgetary issues and budget reform ideas
WHEN: Wednesday, September 29th, 2010, 9:30am – 12:00pm ET
WHERE: Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 608
WEB: Watch the meeting live at www.whitehouse.gov/live
Sen. Simpson apologizes to OWL for his remarks
Older Women’s League
1828 L Street NW Suite 801
Washington, DC 20036 Dear Ms. Carson,
My wife Ann and I are in Yellowstone National Park for the opening of the new visitor center, so I only just now have had the opportunity to read your response to my recent e-mail. I apologize for what I wrote. I can see that my remarks have caused you anguish, and that was not my intention. I certainly did not intend to diminish your hard work for the Older Women’s League. I know you care deeply about strengthening Social Security, and so do I, just as deeply. I remember your testimony at our public hearing in June about the importance of retirement security for women. Over the last 40 years, I have had my size 15 feet in my mouth a time or two. To quote my old friend and colleague, Senator Lloyd Bentsen, when I make a mistake, “It’s a doozy!”
Next time I’m in Washington, perhaps we could meet in person, and I could learn further of your sincere concerns.
Presidential commission hears testimony and ideas from 75 groups and individuals
WASHINGTON – The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, the bi-partisan commission charged with identifying policies to improve the fiscal situation of the federal budget in the medium term and to achieve long-term fiscal sustainability, held a public forum on Wednesday, June 30 and heard from 75 different groups, think tanks, policy experts and individual citizens.“We were heartened by the turnout of the young, the old, the everyday folks, people from think tanks, advocates and people from across the spectrum who came to speak to us. It shows us that the American people truly care about our mission and our country. This is exactly what we’re looking for: ideas on how we can accomplish the goals the president has laid out for us,” said Co-Chairs Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles.
The 18- member National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform will make recommendations to Congress by December 1, 2010 to put the budget in primary balance so that all operations and programs for the federal government are paid for (achieving deficits of about 3 percent of GDP) by 2015 and to meaningfully improve the long-term fiscal outlook. For more information, please visit: www.fiscalcommission.gov
Below is a list of all 75 groups and individuals that testified:
- Alliance for Retired Americans
- America Speaks
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- American Association of University Women
- Americans for Tax Reform
- Association of American Universities
- Bread for the World
- Business Coalition for Fair Competition
- Business Roundtable
- California Retired Teachers Association
- Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
- Cato Institute
- Center for American Progress
- Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
- Charles Lyle
- Citizens for Tax Justice
- Coalition for Health Funding
- Coalition on Human Needs
- Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
- Committee on Education Funding
- Concerned Youth of America
- Concord Coalition
- Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities
- Democratic Leadership Council
- Economic Policy Institute
- Financial Services Forum
- Fiscal Policy Institute
- Frank Restly
- Hanover Investment Group
- Healthcare NOW
- Heritage Foundation
- Immigration Policy Center
- Institute for America’s Future
- Institute for Women’s Policy Research
- Joseph Guggenheim
- Mercatus Center at George Mason University
- Migration Policy Institute
- Military Officers Association of America
- National Academy of Social insurance
- National Active and Retired Federal Employees
- National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare
- National Council of Women’s Organizations
- National Disability Institute and Burton Blatt Institute, Syracuse University
- National Education Association
- National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
- National Immigration Forum
- National Nurses United
- OMB Watch
- Older Women’s League
- Paralyzed Veterans of America
- Peter G. Peterson Foundation
- Pew Charitable Trusts
- Physicians for a National Health Program
- Progressive Policy Institute
- Prosperity Agenda
- Roosevelt Institute at American University
- Service Employees International Union
- Small Business Legislative Council
- Social Security Works
- Speak Out America Now
- Stephen Moorhead
- Third Way
- U.S. Public Interest Research Group
- United Church of Christ
- Virginia P Reno
- Voices for America’s Children
- Wider Opportunities for Women
- William McClellan
- Women Impacting Public Policy
- Women’s Action for New Directions
- Yavapai Regional Capital
- Young Americans for Federal Debt Awareness
- Zero to Three
Joshua Odintz Joins Fiscal Commission as Chief Tax Counsel
WASHINGTON – The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, the bi-partisan commission charged with identifying policies to improve the fiscal situation of the federal budget in the medium term and to achieve long-term fiscal sustainability, is pleased to announce that Joshua Odintz has joined the staff as Chief Tax Counsel. Odintz will be responsible for helping the commission explore tax and reform options that will be part of the Commission’s recommendations to Congress by December 1, 2010.
Odintz is being detailed to the Commission from the Department of the Treasury, where he served as the Acting Tax Legislative Counsel. Odintz will return to the Office of Tax Policy once the Commission completes its work.
“We are thrilled to have Josh Odintz join our team,” said Executive Director Bruce Reed. “This commission has been tasked with making the tough choices necessary to address our country’s fiscal problems and Josh’s skills and background will help us with that task.”
Prior to joining the Department of the Treasury, Odintz was a tax counsel at the Senate Finance Committee, majority staff, from 2007 to July 2009. His portfolio included corporate tax, international tax, and the taxation of private equity and hedge funds. Before working in the U.S. Senate, Odintz was a partner in the tax department of the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP in Washington, D.C.
About the commission:
The bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform will make recommendations to Congress by December 1, 2010 to put the budget in primary balance so that all operations and programs for the federal government are paid for (achieving deficits of about three percent of GDP) by 2015 and to meaningfully improve the long-term fiscal outlook. President Obama has named six bipartisan appointees to the commission. The remaining 12 members of the commission are appointed by Senate and House leaders, including three each by the Republican and Democratic leaders of both chambers.
National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to Hold Public Meeting
Presidential commission to hear from economic experts
Washington – The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, the bi-partisan commission charged with identifying policies to improve the fiscal situation of the federal budget in the medium term and to achieve long-term fiscal sustainability, will hold its next public meeting on Wednesday, May 26 at 9:30am ET in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. The 18-member commission will hear from two witnesses – Professor Carmen Reinhart of the University of Maryland and Carlo Cottarelli, Director, Fiscal Affairs for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – who will discuss debt and fiscal outlook both here in the United States and overseas.
Who: The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
What: Public meeting to discuss current economic conditions
When: Wednesday, May 26th, 2010, 9:30am – 12:00pm ET
Where: Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 608
Bipartisan Fiscal Commission Launches Website
On heels of Commission’s inaugural meeting, www.fiscalcommission.gov website provides testimony, videos, and announcements, and gives public an opportunity to submit ideas and suggestions.
WASHINGTON – Today, the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform announced the launch of its official website, www.fiscalcommission.gov. The website will provide easy access to information regarding the commission, including videos, testimonies, news releases, and announcements, as well as give the public an opportunity to submit ideas and suggestions on how to address the nation’s long-term fiscal challenge.
The website launch comes on the heels of this week’s Commission’s inaugural meeting. After meeting with President Obama to discuss the scope of the nation’s fiscal challenges, the Commission heard testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, OMB Director Peter Orszag, and former CBO Directors Rudolph Penner and Robert Reischauer. Video of the full meeting as well as all four prepared testimonies can be found under the Meetings tab on www.fiscalcommission.gov.
As with Tuesday’s inaugural meeting, the Commission will make its monthly public meetings available via live webcast through www.whitehouse.gov/live. All meeting videos will be archived on the new website, www.fiscalcommission.gov.
The website also features information on how to submit comments and ideas to the Commission. Citizens are encouraged to email suggestions to email@example.com.
The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform was created to address our nation’s fiscal challenges. The Commission is charged with identifying policies to improve the fiscal situation in the medium term and to achieve fiscal sustainability over the long run. Specifically, the Commission shall propose recommendations designed to balance the budget, excluding interest payments on the debt, by 2015.
Remarks by the President at the First Meeting of the Fiscal Commission
9:50 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody.
As a nation, we continue to experience the consequence of three distinct but closely related challenges. One is a financial crisis, born of reckless speculation that threatened to choke off lending to families and to businesses. And this crisis, in turn, led to the deepest recession we’ve known in generations –- costing millions of Americans their jobs and their homes, closing thousands of businesses and devastating Main Streets across the country. And over the past two years, this downturn has aggravated an already severe fiscal crisis, brought on by decades of bad habits in Washington.
As a result, the day I walked into this door — the Oval Office — the deficit stood at $1.3 trillion, with projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next 10 years. Partly, this was caused by the recession, which meant the government was taking in less while demanding — while demand for assistance for those who had lost their jobs was far greater. Another contributor to our deficit has been the rising costs of health care. Each year, more tax dollars are devoted to Medicare and to Medicaid.
But what also made these large deficits possible was that, for years, folks in Washington deferred politically difficult decisions and avoided telling hard truths about the nature of the problem. The fact is, it’s always easier, when you’re in public life, to share the good news -– to tell people want they want to hear instead of what they need to know. And, as the gentlemen behind me, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, can attest, this has been the norm around Washington for a very long time when it comes to our finances.
Now, over the past year, we’ve had to take emergency measures to prevent the recession from becoming another depression. And at a time when millions of people are out of work, we’ll continue to do what it takes to spur job creation while investing in a new foundation for lasting economic growth. But the emergency measures have added about $1 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years. As a result, even as we take these necessary steps in the short term, we have an obligation to future generations to address our long-term, structural deficits, which threaten to hobble our economy and leave our children and grandchildren with a mountain of debt.
And that’s why I asked Congress to restore the “pay as you go” rule. This rule says that Congress can’t spend a dollar on a new tax cut or entitlement program unless it saves a dollar elsewhere. It’s what helped lead to the balanced budgets of the 1990s. In fact, it was only by abandoning “pay as you go” that record surpluses turned into record deficits during the course of a decade.
Next, we’ve been scouring the budget, line by line, identifying more than $20 billion in savings this year alone. We’ve cut or eliminated scores of outmoded or ineffective programs and begun to reform our bloated contracting system. We’ve also successfully challenged the custom in Congress of courting favored contractors by approving weapons systems the Pentagon itself said that it doesn’t want or need. Because in these hard times we have to save where we can afford so that we can pay for what we need –- the same way families do.
Finally, I’ve proposed a freeze in government spending for three years. This won’t affect benefits through Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security. And it will not affect national security, including benefits for veterans. But it will affect all other discretionary spending. My budget ends loopholes and tax giveaways for oil and gas companies and for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans –- because we just can’t afford them. And I kept my promise to pass a health reform bill without adding a dime to the deficit. In fact, by attacking waste and fraud and promoting better care, reform is expected to bring down our deficits by more than $1 trillion over the next two decades.
But all these steps, while significant, are simply not enough. For even as we rein in waste and ask that Congress account for every dollar it spends, this alone will not make up for the years in which those in Washington refused to make hard choices and live within their means. And it will not make up for the chronic failure to level with the American people about the cost of the services that they value.
This is going to require people of both parties to come together and take a hard look at the growing gap between what the government spends and what the government raises in revenue. And it will require that we put politics aside -– that we think more about the next generation than the next election. There is simply no other way way to do it.
That’s why I appointed the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform -– based on a proposal originally presented by a bipartisan group of senators. And today, the commission will have its first official meeting. I am grateful to all of its members –- Democrats and Republicans, folks in government and folks from the private sector –- for participating.
I especially want to thank Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson for chairing the commission. These two men may have different political affiliations, but they share a strength of character, an ability to work across party lines, and a willingness to tell the hard truths even when it’s hard. These qualities will be essential, as will the courage they’ve already shown by taking on this assignment.
Now, I’ve said that it’s important that we not restrict the review or the recommendations that this commission comes up with in any way. Everything has to be on the table. And I just met briefly with the commission and said the same thing to them. Of course, this means that all of you, our friends in the media, will ask me and others once a week or once a day about what we’re willing to rule out or rule in when it comes to the recommendations of the commission. That’s an old Washington game and it’s one that has made it all but impossible in the past for people to sit down and have an honest discussion about putting our country on a more secure fiscal footing.
So I want to deliver this message today: We’re not playing that game. I’m not going to say what’s in. I’m not going to say what’s out. I want this commission to be free to do its work.
In theory, there are few issues on which there is more vigorous bipartisan agreement than fiscal responsibility. But in practice, this responsibility for the future is often overwhelmed by the politics of the moment. It falls prey to special interest pressures, to the pull of local concerns, and to the reality familiar to every single American — it’s a lot easier to spend a dollar than to save one. That’s what, at root, led to these exploding deficits. And that is what will lead to a day of reckoning.
But I believe, with the help of these gentlemen and this commission, we can begin to meet this challenge in a serious and thoughtful way. And I believe we must, for the future of our country.
So, Alan, Erskine, thank you for your participation. I want to thank all the members of the fiscal commission. We’ve got a serious group in there of Democrats and Republicans, private sector and public sector, people who are sincere about this effort. And I told them that we are serious about it as well.
I think I’ve shown over the last year that I’m willing to do things even when they’re not popular. A lot of the decisions in terms of getting our budget under control may not be popular, but I think the reason that Alan and Erskine agreed to take on this assignment is that they were convinced I was serious about it. And I’m going to be standing with them as they come up with the recommendations.
So, thank you very much, everybody.
9:59 A.M. EDT
Co-Chairs Bowles and Simpson Announce First Meeting of Bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
WASHINGTON — Today, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, Co-Chairs of the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, announced that the Commission will hold its first meeting on April 27th in Washington, DC from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. The meeting will be open to the press.
All 18 members of the Commission have now been appointed by the President and the bipartisan, bicameral congressional leadership. Bruce Reed has been announced as the Commission’s Executive Director.
The Commission will build bipartisan consensus to put forth America on the path toward fiscal reform and responsibility. The Commission will make recommendations to the President by December 1, 2010 that put the budget in primary balance so that we are paying for all operations and programs for the federal government (achieving deficits of about 3 percent of GDP) by 2015 and meaningfully improve the long-term fiscal outlook.
The full text of the letter by the Co-Chairs to the Commission members is below and attached:
Dear Commission Member,Thank you for serving on the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Our nation’s daunting fiscal challenges can be solved only through the efforts of experienced, principled individuals of good will who are ready to set aside partisanship and focus on putting our nation back on stable fiscal footing. That is why you were asked to serve on the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and why we are confident that our work can provide the solutions needed to restore our country’s fiscal health. Certainly, it will not be easy. Over the next decade, both the Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office project deficits exceeding $8 trillion – with spending that is estimated to average above 23% of GDP and revenues estimated to average around 19% of GDP over that time. This is symptomatic of a problem that has afflicted our government for years: a willingness to spend more than it collects in revenues, to countenance the escalation of debt, and to permit our country’s budget to remain on its negative medium- and long-term trajectory. But it is for these very reasons that our work is so important. Our efforts will help ensure that future generations are not oppressed by mountains of debt they inherit. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren are not responsible for our current fiscal quandary and they should not be saddled with the task of correcting our generation’s errors. By stabilizing the budget now, we will not only stop the problem from getting worse, we will also provide Americans decades from now with the financial freedom to address needs we cannot even currently anticipate, and to maintain our country’s high standard of living.The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform was created by Executive Order in mid-February. Its mandate is to provide recommendations to the President to put the budget into primary balance, meaning that the federal government will pay for all of its programmatic obligations. That would result in deficits roughly in the range of 3 percent of GDP in 2015, which is approximately the point at which debt would not increase relative to the size of the economy. In addition, the Commission is tasked with making recommendations to the President to meaningfully improve the long-term fiscal outlook. This will cover the growth of entitlement spending and the projected long-term gap between the federal government’s revenue and expenditures.The Commission’s goals are ones on which we can all agree. They are not Republican or Democratic objectives. The solvency of our federal government is a matter of such importance that it transcends political parties. Thus, it is appropriate that the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is co-chaired by a Republican and a Democrat. In addition to the co-chairs, the Commission consists of sixteen other members: four appointed by the President and twelve appointed by Congressional leaders (three by the Republican and Democratic leaders of each chamber). The Commission’s recommendations must be made to the President by December 1, 2010 and will require approval by fourteen of its eighteen members, thus guaranteeing that all recommendations are the result of bipartisan consensus. We would like to invite you to the first meeting of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, to be held from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on April 27th in Washington, DC. We seriously urge your attendance. We will be in contact with your offices with further details. Together, this Commission will look to the needs of the next generation, not the next election. The country can no longer defer the task of restoring fiscal responsibility. We look forward to beginning this difficult – but profoundly important – work with you.Sincerely and with best personal regards,
Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson
Co-Chairs Bowles and Simpson Name Executive Director of Bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
WASHINGTON—Today, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, Co-Chairs of the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, announced that Bruce Reed will serve as the Commission’s Executive Director.
Co-Chair Simpson said, “The Commission will benefit from Bruce’s years of experience in public policy to help us complete our challenging and crucial work. I look forward to working with him.”
Co-Chair Bowles said, “I am confident that Bruce’s deep knowledge of the federal budget will be extremely helpful in making our efforts a success. I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with him again.”
Bruce Reed is currently Chief Executive Officer of the Democratic Leadership Council. He served as chief domestic policy advisor and director of the White House Domestic Policy Council during the Clinton Administration. In that capacity, he developed and oversaw the administration’s agenda on welfare reform, crime, education, tobacco, and other domestic issues. He helped write the landmark 1996 welfare reform law, create the 100,000 police program, and enact President Clinton’s education agenda. In 1992, Reed served as deputy campaign manager for policy of the Clinton-Gore campaign. He previously served as policy director of the DLC and on the staff of then-Senator Al Gore. A native of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, he is a graduate of Princeton University and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.
The bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform will build bipartisan consensus to put forth America on the path toward fiscal reform and responsibility. The Commission will make recommendations to Congress by December 1, 2010 that put the budget in primary balance so that we are paying for all operations and programs for the federal government (achieving deficits of about 3 percent of GDP) by 2015 and meaningfully improve the long-term fiscal outlook.
President Obama Names Members of Bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
WASHINGTON – Today, President Barack Obama named the following individuals to serve on the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform being co-chaired by former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Senate Whip Alan Simpson:
- David Cote, Member, National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
- Ann Fudge, Member, National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
- Alice Rivlin, Member, National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
- Andy Stern, Member, National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
President Obama said, “For far too long, Washington has avoided the tough choices necessary to solve our fiscal problems. I am proud that these distinguished individuals have agreed to work to build a bipartisan consensus to put America on the path toward fiscal reform and responsibility. I know they’ll take up their work with the sense of integrity and strength of commitment that the American people deserve and America’s future demands.”
The bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform will make recommendations to Congress by December 1, 2010 to put the budget in primary balance so that all operations and programs for the federal government are paid for (achieving deficits of about 3 percent of GDP) by 2015 and to meaningfully improve the long-term fiscal outlook. With today’s appointments the President has named 6 bipartisan appointees to the commission. The remaining 12 members of the commission will be appointed by Senate and House leaders (3 each by the Republican and Democratic leaders of both chambers).
President Obama named the following individuals as members of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform:
Dave Cote has served since 2002 as chairman, chief executive officer, and president of Honeywell, a diversified technology and manufacturing leader. Under Cote’s leadership, Honeywell has delivered strong performance in sales, earnings per share, segment profit, and cash flow. He has served on the U.S.-India CEO Forum since 2005 and was named co-chair by President Obama in 2009. Previously, he was chairman, chief executive officer, and president of TRW. He joined TRW from General Electric, where he served 25 years in various manufacturing, finance, and management positions. He received the Corporate Social Responsibility Award from the Foreign Policy Association in 2007. He is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire.
Ann Fudge served as chairman and chief executive officer of Young & Rubicam Brands from 2003 to 2006. Prior to joining Young & Rubicam Brands, she worked at General Mills and Kraft, where she served in a number of senior executive positions. Fudge is not only a proven business leader, but also an engaged civic voice having served on the boards of the Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. She is a graduate of Simmons College and Harvard Business School.
Alice Rivlin is a senior fellow in the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution and visiting professor at Georgetown University. Before returning to Brookings, she served in a variety of senior public policy roles including vice chair of the Federal Reserve Board, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, chair of the District of Columbia Financial Management Assistance Authority, and founding director of the Congressional Budget Office. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and received her Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.
Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, represents 2.2 million healthcare workers, janitors, security officers, public employees, and other hardworking women and men in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. As both a labor leader and an activist, he is a leading voice and aggressive advocate for practical solutions to achieve economic opportunity and justice for workers. Stern began working as a social service worker and member of SEIU Local 668 in 1973 and rose through the ranks before his election as SEIU president in 1996. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.
President Obama Establishes Bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
Names former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Senate Whip Alan Simpson as Commission Co-Chairs
WASHINGTON – Today, President Obama will sign an executive order establishing the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and announce that former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Senate Whip Alan Simpson will serve as the Commission’s co-chairs.
President Obama said, “For far too long, Washington has avoided the tough choices necessary to solve our fiscal problems – and they won’t be solved overnight. But under the leadership of Erksine and Alan, I’m confident that the Commission I’m establishing today will build a bipartisan consensus to put America on the path toward fiscal reform and responsibility. I know they’ll take up their work with the sense of integrity and strength of commitment that America’s people deserve and America’s future demands.”
Former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles said, “This is one of the most critically important challenges facing the country today and it has be addressed in a bipartisan manner. This is not a Republican or Democratic problem– this is a challenge for America.”
Former Republican Senate Whip Alan Simpson said, “We find ourselves in a difficult fiscal situation that is unsustainable. Whatever the results of our work, the American people are going to know about a lot more where we are headed with an honest appraisal of our situation and the courage to do something about it. I am pleased to accept this difficult role and eager to work with Erskine and the members of the Commission. ”
The bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform will build bipartisan consensus to put forth solutions to tackle our long-ignored fiscal challenges.
- The Commission will make recommendations that put the budget in primary balance so that we are paying for all operations and programs for the federal government (achieving deficits of about 3 percent of GDP) by 2015 and meaningfully improve the long-term fiscal outlook.
- The Commission will be comprised of 18 total members. 12 members will be appointed by Senate/House leaders (3 each by the Republican and Democratic leaders of both chambers). All must be sitting members of Congress. The additional 6 members will be appointed by the President, with no more than 4 from the same political party.
- Furthermore, 14 out of 18 votes needed to report recommendations, and recommendations must be reported to Congress by December 1, 2010.
The executive order will be signed at the event this morning.
Since taking office, President Obama has worked to usher in a new era of responsibility in Washington. He put forward a 2011 Budget that includes more than a $1 trillion of deficit reduction, excluding war savings, and signed into law statutory PAYGO legislation so that Congress would have to pay for what it proposes. He ordered his administration to go line by line through the budget looking for programs that do not work or are outdated or duplicative. And the President is taking on the biggest challenge to our fiscal future — rising health care costs — by fighting to pass meaningful health reform legislation, and demanding that it doesn’t add a dime to our deficit.
President Obama named the following individuals as Co-Chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform:
Erskine Bowles is currently President of the University of North Carolina. He served as White House Chief of Staff under President Clinton from 1996 to 1998. In that capacity, Bowles brokered the last significant bipartisan budget agreement, the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, with the Republican leadership in Congress—helping to generate the first balanced budget in nearly 30 years. He had previously served as Deputy White House Chief of Staff from 1994 to 1995 and as head of the Small Business Administration from 1993 to 1994. Bowles has also had a long career in business, helping to found the investment firm Carousel Capital in Charlotte, North Carolina, and he was the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate in North Carolina in both 2002 and 2004.
Alan Simpson served as a U.S. Senator from Wyoming from 1979 to 1997. From 1985 to 1995, he was the Republican whip in the Senate, and he also chaired the Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Social Security. During his career in the Senate, Simpson was a consistent voice for fiscal balance—for example, voting in favor the bipartisan 1990 deficit-reduction agreement. From 1997 to 2000, Simpson taught at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Simpson left Harvard in 2000 to return home to Cody, Wyoming, where he now practices law with his two sons. Simpson serves on the Commission for Continuity in Government, as well as Co-Chair of Americans for Campaign Reform with several former Senate colleagues. He served as a member of the Iraq Study group.