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Budget Agreement: Good Day for Bipartisanship

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Washington, D.C. – Bipartisan Policy Center President Jason Grumet and Senior Vice President G. William Hoagland issued the following statement on the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015:

“The president and the bipartisan congressional leadership are to be congratulated for their tentative agreement on the federal budget.

“The Bipartisan Policy Center has long argued against any action that would jeopardize the full faith and credit of the federal government’s borrowing authority. This agreement maintains that authority without question.

“BPC has long supported changes to the earlier Budget Control Act of 2011 that set unachievable spending caps on both domestic and defense spending. This agreement necessarily adjusts the caps while not adding to the federal deficit and ensures that no threat of a government shutdown will be visited this December.

“BPC worked tirelessly with advocates, experts and policymakers over the last year to find consensus on changes to the Social Security Disability Insurance program.  We are pleased that many of the reforms embodied in the agreement today reflect our recommendations.

“Our Disability Insurance Working Group supported provisions to reinstate demonstration authority for Social Security to test innovative ways to improve the program, specifically including a pilot to replace the so-called’cash cliff’ with a gradual benefit offset in order to encourage beneficiaries to work to the extent of their ability. We also recommended provisions to allow beneficiaries to report earnings electronically, use cap adjustments to fully fund continuing disability reviews to ensure that those who remain on the program continue to be eligible, expand cooperative disability investigation units nationwide to fight fraud, and reallocate dedicated tax revenue between the Social Security trust funds to ensure that benefits will continue to be paid as scheduled.

“It is unfortunate that ‘regular order’ in the politically charged environment of today has become dictated by the threats of defaults, discretionary sequesters, and government shutdowns.  Nonetheless, the agreement reached today avoids all three of these potential disasters and allows government to continue to function as it should.

“Challenges remain, but today is a good day for bipartisanship.”

KEYWORDS: BILL HOAGLAND, JASON GRUMET, SOCIAL SECURITY, SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY INSURANCE