Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn) has released a detailed fiscal plan that proposes to cut spending and increase taxes by $4.5 trillion over the next decade. In addition, the Corker Plan has been put into legislative language, making it a very useful resource as debt reduction negotiations move forward.
The plan is a serious attempt to bridge the differences between Democrats and Republicans in Congress and between Congress and the White House. Furthermore, we commend the Senator for his focus on the drivers of our debt – growing entitlements and insufficient revenues to pay for them – and his admirably balanced and bipartisan Social Security package.
We believe that Sen. Corker’s initiative may well spur other Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to develop comprehensive plans. Specific plans seem critical to force real progress toward avoiding the fiscal cliff.
Whether the lame duck session affords enough time for full passage of a comprehensive plan is problematic. But, Congress is well-served by detailed plans that start a serious, item-by-item discussion.
If Congress cannot agree on a full package of reforms in the next few weeks, we continue to urge a version of the procedural “Framework” developed by the Bipartisan Policy Center. This legislation, to be passed in the lame duck session, would include a down-payment on deficit reduction, and then establish an “accelerated regular order” to facilitate agreement on a Grand Bargain in the next session. Perhaps most importantly for immediate economic growth, the Framework would remove the uncertainty and immediate austerity posed by the fiscal cliff, and replace it with a more rational backstop for the next Congress.