In 2010, the Bipartisan Policy Center convened a Debt Reduction Task Force of 19 former elected officials and experienced citizens with diverse backgrounds from across the political spectrum. We co-chaired the task force with the goal of addressing the projected explosion of U.S. federal debt. As we released our report, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, led by former Sen. Alan Simpson and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, also delivered their plan.
These bipartisan groups came to similar conclusions: First, the present debt trajectory of the United States federal government cannot be sustained and poses grave dangers to the American economy; second, policymakers must make difficult decisions to get our fiscal house in order; and third, any realistic solution must include structural reforms to entitlements and fundamental tax reform that raises significant new revenue.
These bipartisan proposals have increased awareness of the nation’s severe fiscal problems. Further, Congress has passed components of these plans into law – most notably, the caps on annually appropriated spending contained in the Budget Control Act of 2011. But much work remains and that is why we are updating our proposals and renewing our effort with the release of Domenici-Rivlin 2.0.
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