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Schrader, Bipartisan Group File Simpson-Bowles Amendment


Four members of Congress – two Republicans and two Democrats – have introduced the only bipartisan amendment to H.R. 444 that will be considered for a vote today on the House floor. The Schrader-Wolf-Cooper-Gibson Amendment suggests that the President use the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles framework as a guide in drafting his budget.

“To get anything of substance done in this partisan Congress we must reach across the aisle and find common ground with our like-minded Republican counterparts,” said Rep. Kurt Schrader (OR-05). “This bipartisan amendment asks the President to heed the advice of his Debt Commission and take an all-of-the-above approach in getting our long-term cost drivers under control, promoting economic growth and providing certainty for our nation’s businesses to grow and create jobs.”

“I am disappointed that an amendment is even necessary, as I would hope that the President would have done this on his own initiative,” said Rep. Frank Wolf (VA-10). “The looming sequestration deadline should make resolving the fiscal crisis the most important item on his agenda.”

“The debt is a bipartisan problem so we need a bipartisan solution,” said Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05). “Most budget experts agree that Simpson-Bowles, or something like it, is where we’ll eventually end up. It should be the foundation for any serious plan to reduce our debt in a balanced way.”

“In an era of divided government, I believe a plan modeled after the Simpson-Bowles Deficit Reduction Commission is a reasonable approach both parties can get behind. It is my hope that the President comes to the table to do what is right for our country. At a time such as this, we need leadership and an ability to accept less than our ideal if we want to ensure our best days are still in front of us,” said Congressman Chris Gibson (NY-19). “2013 must be the year we act, and the President can take the first step by submitting a budget based on these bipartisan principles.”

This is the only bipartisan amendment to H.R. 444 and has garnered support from former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Senator Alan Simpson, the Blue Dog Coalition, The Concord Coalition, Fix the Debt, and the Republican Main Street Partnership.

All four members voted for the Cooper-LaTourette budget substitute in March 2012, which was based on the framework set forth by the Simpson-Bowles fiscal commission. It was the only bipartisan budget resolution offered last year and would have reduced the debt by more than $4 trillion over the next 10 years.

Statementfrom Senator Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles

“We are very encouraged that members of both parties are working together on a bipartisan amendment calling on the President to put forward a budget based on the recommendations of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (Simpson-Bowles). It is our strong belief that the basic framework and principles set forth in the Simpson-Bowles plan represent the best hope for achieving the broad, bipartisan support necessary to enact a plan to put our nation on a solid path towards fiscal responsibility and reform.”

“The amendment echoes the findings of our report that addressing our fiscal challenges will require a bipartisan plan to reform spending programs and the tax code in order to stabilize and reduce the debt as a share of the nation’s economy. No plan is perfect, including ours, but it can serve as the starting point for the discussion necessary to produce an agreement that is equally bold and comprehensive and that can get the broad bipartisan support needed to ensure enactment.”

“We commend Representatives Schrader, Wolf, Cooper and Gibson for the bipartisan amendment they have put forward and urge their colleagues in the House and Senate to follow their leadership in pushing for a bold, bipartisan plan to bring our debt under control.”

Statement from The Concord Coalition

The Concord Coalition today applauded the efforts of a bipartisan group in the House of Representatives to encourage a long-term balanced budget plan based on the principles of the 2010 National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (Simpson-Bowles).    

“This is a simple idea with a powerful message. As we enter into another round of contentious budget negotiations, it will be tempting for elected leaders in both parties to produce one-sided plans that may appeal to their core constituencies. But unless compromises across party lines can be struck, there is little hope of enacting the kind of comprehensive long-term plan we need,” said Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition.

“In that regard, Representatives Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Frank R. Wolf (R-VA), Jim Cooper (D-TN), and Chris Gibson (R-NY) are setting a positive example of bipartisan cooperation in pursuit of fiscal responsibility,” Bixby said.  

The Concord Coalition, like the bipartisan group in the House, supports the principles of the Simpson-Bowles Commission. Reasonable arguments can be made on when a balanced budget can, or should, be achieved. However, any plan to deal with our long-term fiscal challenge should recognize that it will take a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases to produce a realistic plan. Moreover, we must deal with the major cost-drivers and not be afraid of tackling needed tax reform. These were among the major conclusions of the Simpson-Bowles Commission and should be guiding principles in future budget negotiations.

Blog Post from Fix the Debt

Budget Bipartisanship, is that you?

Why yes, it is.

This week, the U.S. House of Representatives will debate a bipartisan amendment that calls for the President to submit a budget resolution that would stabilize the debt in the long term, consistent with the principles established by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform—also known as the Simpson-Bowles.

This amendment, sponsored by a bipartisan group of House members led by Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR-5), Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-VA-10), Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN-5), and Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY-19) is a glimmer of sunlight in what has been an otherwise gloomy and partisan beginning of the annual budget season. Partisan budgeteering and fiscal face-offs so far have failed to produce the types of structural reforms and compromises needed to truly put our nation on a path to stabilize the debt. The Schrader-Wolf-Cooper-Gibson amendment highlights the need to address our fiscal challenges in a comprehensive and bi-partisan manner. 

Although the amendment may not be enacted in the end, let’s hope that this effort is just one of many bipartisan acts of leadership that will be needed over the upcoming months to enact a plan to put our nation on a solid path towards fiscal responsibility. Let’s hope that the rest of the House, Senate, and the White House follow this example and that the American people take notice.

Statement from Steve LaTourette, Republican Main Street Partnership President and former U.S. Congressman (R-OH)

“The bipartisan amendment being offered by Reps. Wolf (R-VA), Schrader (D-OR), Gibson (R-NY) and Cooper (D-TN) is a common-sense approach to an issue we can no longer afford to ignore.

“We are on the precipice of an unprecedented fiscal crisis. We are approaching $16.5 trillion in debt. We cannot continue to operate on the basis of short-term ‘fixes’ that simply delay the next ‘crisis’ we face for a few weeks or few months. No successful businessperson would ever consider operating their business like this, no family would ever consider planning their personal finances in this manner, it is absolutely governmental malpractice to run our nation in this manner.

“It is time to bridge the partisan divide, it is time to take a break from the endless campaign cycle, and it is time to find real solutions to the serious challenges we face as a country.

“The Republican Main Street Partnership praises this bipartisan effort and urges members of both parties to vote for this important amendment.”