President Obama created the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform 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. In addition, the Commission shall propose recommendations that meaningfully improve the long-run fiscal outlook, including changes to address the growth of entitlement spending and the gap between the projected revenues and expenditures of the Federal Government.
The Commission will meet as a whole once a month while Congress is in session. The Commission will vote on a final report containing a set of recommendations to achieve its mission no later than December 1, 2010. The final report will require the approval of at least 14 of the Commission’s 18 members.
Sen. Alan Simpson. Former Republican Senator from Wyoming.
Erskine Bowles, Chief of Staff to President Clinton
Bruce Reed, Chief Domestic Policy Adviser to President Clinton
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)
Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA 31)
Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI 4)
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND)
David Cote, Chairman and CEO, Honeywell International
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Ann Fudge, Former CEO, Young & Rubicam Brands
Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH)
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX 5)
Alice Rivlin, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institute and former Director, Office of Management & Budget
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI 1)
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL 9)
Rep. John Spratt (D-SC 5)
Andrew Stern, President, Service Employees International Union
Our Guiding Principles and Values
In establishing this Commission, the President gave us a two-part mission: to bring the budget into primary balance (balance excluding interest costs) in 2015, and to meaningfully improve the long-run fiscal outlook. Our recommendations accomplish both of these goals, while keeping the following core principles in mind:
We all have a patriotic duty to make America better off tomorrow than it is today. Americans are counting on us to pull together, not pull apart, to put politics aside and do the right thing for future generations. Our country’s economic and national security depend on us putting our fiscal house in order.
Don’t disrupt the fragile economic recovery. We need a comprehensive plan now to reduce the debt over the long term. But budget cuts should start gradually so they don’t interfere with the ongoing economic recovery. Growth is essential to restoring fiscal strength and balance.
Cut and invest to promote economic growth and keep America competitive. We should cut red tape and unproductive government spending that hinders job creation and growth. At the same time, we must invest in education, infrastructure, and high-value research and development to help our economy grow, keep us globally competitive, and make it easier for businesses to create jobs.
Protect the truly disadvantaged. We must ensure that our nation has a robust, affordable, fair, and sustainable safety net. Benefits should be focused on those who need them the most.
Cut spending we cannot afford – no exceptions. We must end redundant, wasteful, and ineffective federal spending, wherever we find it. We should cut all excess spending – including defense, domestic programs, entitlement spending, and spending in the tax code.
Demand productivity and effectiveness from Washington. We must use fiscal restraint to promote reforms and efficiencies that force government to produce better results and save money. We should insist on consistent productivity growth in our government.
Reform and simplify the tax code. The tax code is rife with inefficiencies, loopholes, incentives, tax earmarks, and baffling complexity. We need to lower tax rates, broaden the base, simplify the tax code, and bring down the deficit. We need to reform the corporate tax system to make America the best place to start and grow a business and create jobs.
Don’t make promises we can’t keep. Our country has tough choices to make. We need to be willing to tell Americans the truth: We cannot afford to continue spending more than we take in, and we cannot continue to make promises we know full well we cannot keep.
The problem is real, and the solution will be painful. We must stabilize and then reduce the national debt, or we could spend $1 trillion a year in interest alone by 2020. There is no easy way out of our debt problem, so everything must be on the table. A sensible, realistic plan requires shared sacrifice – and Washington must lead the way and tighten its belt.
Keep America sound over the long run. We need to implement policies today to ensure that future generations have retirement security, affordable health care, and financial freedom. To do that, we must make Social Security solvent and sound, reduce the long-term growth of health care spending, and tackle the nation’s overwhelming debt burden.
Read the full report: Fiscal Commission