Bipartisan Support for a Fiscal Commission

This week, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association led a coalition letter to leadership asking for a fiscal commission to be included in appropriations legislation, other signers included the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; see full details below. Others have expressed their support through letters, testimony, and statements.

Considering the significant fiscal challenges we face, like the looming insolvency of key trust funds and rising interest costs, the need for a fiscal commission to tackle our debt is clear. Recent legislative, committee, and caucus activity all illustrate that Congress is taking the idea seriously.

Last fall, Representatives Bill Huizenga (R-MI) and Scott Peters (D-CA) released their Fiscal Commission Act (FCA). Following up on this work, Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) introduced their Fiscal Stability Act (FSA). Both bills would create a bipartisan, bicameral commission to recommend changes for reining in our ballooning national debt. If approved, the commission’s recommendations would be sent to Congress, where they would receive expedited consideration.

In January, the House Budget Committee held a markup of the FCA, advancing the bill to the full House on a bipartisan vote. Prior to the markup, the Budget Committee held two hearings on the topic. On November 29, the Committee had multiple Members testify on various commission proposals, including the Fiscal Commission Act, Fiscal Stability Act, and Sustainable Budget Act. Overall, seven out of the eight members who testified supported a commission. 

Various caucuses have made their support clear as well. As a potential solution to 2023’s debt limit debate, the Problem Solvers Caucus (PSC) endorsed a framework that included a fiscal commission. The PSC included a commission again in its September framework to avoid a shutdown. Last October, the Main Street Caucus also endorsed a commission, asking Speaker Johnson to bring the FCA to a vote.

Commissions have enjoyed significant bipartisan support over the years. For instance, in 2021, 71 senators voted for the TRUST Act as an amendment to the budget resolution, which would have established commissions to safeguard key trust funds.

Furthermore, the Bipartisan Fiscal Forum (BFF) has been pointing to a commission as a path forward. More than 50 current Members of the House have signed BFF letters supporting a commission in June 2020, July 2021, February 2022, and, most recently, July 2023.

Beyond fiscal commissions specifically, the concept of commissions in general is popular in Congress. A total of more than 270 current senators and representatives have signaled their support for a commission approach through sponsoring or cosponsoring commission bills across a variety of policy areas.

We hope lawmakers will enact a fiscal commission to address our long-term debt soon.


Below is a list of individuals and organizations who support a fiscal commission:

Signers of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association Coalition Letter:

  • American Road & Transportation Builders Association
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
  • National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association
  • The Fertilizer Institute
  • Portland Cement Association
  • National Ready Mixed Concrete Association
  • American Subcontractors Association 
  • FCA International
  • Associated Equipment Distributors
  • Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute
  • Construction and Demolition Recycling Association (CDRA)
  • American Concrete Pavement Association
  • North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM)
  • FreedomWorks
  • Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM)
  • Consumer Technology Association

Individuals from the following organizations joined a National Taxpayers Union-led letter in support of the Fiscal Commission Act – Taxpayers for Common Sense, Taxpayer Protection Alliance, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, American Consumer Institute, R Street Institute, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Consumer Action for a Strong Economy, Americans for Prosperity, AMAC Action, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, Heritage Action,  and FreedomWorks.

Individuals from the following organizations joined a CRFB-led letter calling for a commission – Bipartisan Policy Center, Brookings Institution, Concord Coalition, Center Forward, Economic Policy Innovation Center, FreedomWorks, Millennial Debt Foundation, National Taxpayers Union, Progressive Policy Institute, and Third Way.

Fiscal Stability Act/Fiscal Commission Act Sponsors and Cosponsors (as of 2/28/24) – Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI), Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT); Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Todd Young (R-IN); Reps. Ami Bera (D-CA), Jack Bergman (R-MI), Ed Case (D-HI), Tom Cole (R-OK), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Tom Emmer (R-MN), Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-WA), Jared Golden (D-ME), Kevin Hern (R-OK), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Cory Mills (R-FL), Blake Moore (R-UT), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Dean Phillips (D-MN), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Hillary Scholten (D-MI), David Schweikert (R-AZ), Adrian Smith (R-NE), Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), Victoria Spartz (R-IN), Mike Thompson (D-CA), and William Timmons (R-SC).

Bipartisan Fiscal Forum – “Our nation faces debt levels and interest costs that threaten our economy, and we must act as soon as possible, and we must do so collaboratively. If designed and executed properly, a commission has the potential to make significant strides toward fiscal sustainability.”

Problem Solvers Caucus – The PSC included a fiscal commission as part of its April 2023 framework to raise the debt ceiling and again in its September 2023 framework to avert a government shutdown.

Main Street Caucus – In a letter to Speaker Johnson, the Main Street Caucus endorsed the Fiscal Commission Act, asking for the measure to receive a vote on the floor.

January 2024 Peter G. Peterson Foundation Survey – “As Congress navigates budget deadlines, new polling shows growing momentum and overwhelming voter support for a bipartisan fiscal commission to recommend solutions for America’s $34 trillion national debt.”

September 2023 Conference Board Survey of CEOs and Board Directors – “87% of respondents believe a bipartisan congressional commission on fiscal responsibility could help reduce the national debt.”

Former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan – “The Fiscal Stability Act will force Congress to confront our mounting national debt and work in a bipartisan fashion to find solutions. I applaud Senators Romney and Manchin for working on this issue together and urge its passage through Congress.”

Former Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) & Kent Conrad (D-ND) – “A bipartisan commission might be our best chance to bestow upon future generations a stable financial future rather than an overwhelming financial burden and an America in decline.”

Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta – “But if, in the least, [Democrats and Republicans] can agree on empowering a bipartisan commission to tackle this challenge, perhaps they can forge a path toward a new era of fiscal responsibility that can ensure long-term economic stability and prosperity for future generations.”

Former Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) – “I was encouraged to see that Congress was recently contemplating such an approach with a House Budget Committee hearing on the need for a fiscal commission.”

Former US Comptroller General David Walker – “First, we need a statutory ‘Fiscal Sustainability Commission’ that reflects the lessons of the past Simpson-Bowles Commission. Specifically, such a commission needs to be established by law to ensure buy-in from the president, House and Senate, and to achieve a guaranteed vote on the commission’s recommendations.”

Maya MacGuineas, President of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget – “A fiscal commission holds real promise as a way to break out of the free lunch thinking that dominates Washington and put in place a comprehensive debt deal. Fixing our fiscal imbalances will not be easy – it will require putting everything on the table, focusing on policy over politics, and a significant level of compromise. Anyone who is being honest knows this is the only way to resolve our fiscal challenges.”

Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget: It’s Time for A Bipartisan Fiscal Commission – “With interest rates at a 16-year high, the national debt approaching record levels as a share of the economy, and major trust funds within a decade of insolvency, a bipartisan fiscal commission is needed now more than ever. Although its success is far from guaranteed, it represents perhaps the best chance to put the country on a more sustainable fiscal path.”

Bloomberg Editorial Board: “Say Yes to a Fiscal Commission" – “A fiscal commission, the main topic at Wednesday’s hearing, won’t solve these challenges entirely. But it will almost certainly help. A 1983 commission helped put Social Security on a sustainable track for decades. Others have been used to merge military bases and investigate government waste.”

Mike Murphy, Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget: “A bipartisan fiscal commission could help lawmakers address our looming debt issues" – “Establishing such a commission would be long overdue given our rapidly deteriorating fiscal situation. Our deficit this year will be $1.5 trillion, with interest costs alone projected to reach $870 billion this year, exceeding what we will spend on either defense or Medicare.”

Ben Ritz, Progressive Policy Institute – “Creating a fiscal commission to tackle the problem now has bipartisan, bicameral support in Congress, as well as support from 90% of voters in both parties. Congressional leaders and the Biden administration should make the establishment of such a commission before the end of the year a top priority.”

Alex Kilander, Progressive Policy Institute – “While no panacea, lawmakers could take a step in the right direction by establishing a bipartisan fiscal commission alongside this budget deal. The bipartisan Fiscal Commission Act would create such a commission, composed of a bipartisan group of lawmakers and experts tasked with creating a consensus plan on how to stabilize our fiscal imbalance.”

Matthew Yglesias, Slow Boring: “It’s time for a fiscal commission" – “But now is the time for all good Keynesians to look at the situation at hand and say that it’s time to reduce government borrowing expeditiously, which almost certainly means on a bipartisan basis, which means being open-minded about what specific measures are adopted.”

Romina Boccia, Cato Institute: “Not Just Any Fiscal Commission Will Resolve America’s Fiscal Crisis" – “Congress and the executive should empower a fiscal commission with real authority to stabilize debt as a share of the economy and address the unsustainability of Medicare and Social Security.”

Brian Riedl, Manhattan Institute: “Yes, Fiscal Commissions Can Succeed With A Committed Congress" – “President Reagan in late 1981 created a bipartisan Social Security commission that brought Republicans, Democrats, and outside experts together to define the policy challenge, focus on solutions, and craft reform options. Although the final deal was finalized outside of the official commission negotiations, the creation of a commission made those civil, bipartisan negotiations possible.”

Mark Zandi, Moody’s: “A Way To Brighten America’s Dark Fiscal Outlook" – “A fiscal commission will not obviate lawmakers’ responsibility to make hard choices, but it will make those choices easier to understand and explain to voters.”

Robert Bixby, Concord Coalition: “An effective fiscal commission must put taxes and entitlements on the table" – “Following the passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) expressed interest in appointing a bipartisan commission to address the nation’s long-term fiscal imbalance. That idea has now drawn support from the newly formed Bipartisan Fiscal Forum. These are very promising developments, but only if both parties are prepared to put everything on the table. This is not simply a political imperative. It is a policy imperative as well.”

Adam Brandon, FreedomWorks – “It is time for lawmakers on Capitol Hill to take our nation’s fiscal problems seriously, and I am encouraged to see both chambers introduce legislation that would implement a bipartisan commission to address fiscal reform.”

Michael Peterson, Peter G. Peterson Foundation – “The Fiscal Stability Act would create a comprehensive, dedicated process to look across the entire budget for structural spending and revenue reforms. This bipartisan group of policymakers, led by Senators Manchin and Romney, deserves credit for putting forward a responsible, forward-looking approach to finding fiscal solutions that will strengthen America’s economic future.”

Veronique de Rugy, Reason: “The U.S. Needs a Fiscal Commission Because Congress Won't Do Its Job" – “In short, a fiscal commission represents a pragmatic approach to a problem that has for too long been mired in politics and short-term thinking. It offers a pathway out of the fiscal morass, provided it is empowered to act, and its recommendations are taken seriously.”

Bipartisan Policy Center Action – “BPC Action continues to support the establishment of a bipartisan, bicameral fiscal commission. For years, we have worked to bring members of Congress from both chambers and sides of the aisle together to address the nation’s debt problem.”

November 29 Bipartisan Policy Center Letter for the Record: House Committee on the Budget Hearing – “Fiscal commissions can shine a light for lawmakers and the public on why escalating debt and deficits pose a problem for economic competitiveness and national security. They can organize Democrats and Republicans in Washington around the shared principles needed to meaningfully address our budgetary challenges in the years ahead. Commissions can also put realistic, politically viable, and bipartisan policy options on the table to reduce the deficit.”

October 17 Bipartisan Policy Center Letter for the Record: House Budget Committee Hearing – “It is past time for elected leaders to get serious about addressing the nation’s fiscal health. A new bipartisan fiscal commission could be the first step on that path while also helping to rebuild Americans’ fundamental trust in their government.”

Taxpayers for Common Sense – “While opinion is split in Congress on how best to tackle our nation’s pressing financial challenges, it remains abundantly clear that action will be needed to get our fiscal house in order. As recent squabbles over the debt ceiling, government funding, and the political consequences of “being the adult in the room” have shown, that will not be easy in this Congress. Still, for the good of our nation’s fiscal wellbeing, action is sorely needed. A commission has its flaws, but it appears to be the tool with the greatest likelihood of success.”

Paul Winfree, Economic Policy Innovation Center: “Congressional Fiscal Commission the Best First Step to Address Nation’s Debt Crisis" – “More than ever before, we need a fiscal commission to confront the looming debt crisis head-on, and it is extraordinarily welcome news that House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has embraced legislation to impanel one.”

Alec Mena, Citizens Against Government Waste – “The proposed fiscal commissions, particularly the Senate version, provide a valuable opportunity for lawmakers to develop a serious bipartisan reform package to avert a fiscal crisis and salvage the nation’s future. For their constituents’ sake, lawmakers cannot afford to ignore the ballooning national debt or continue their irresponsible spending.”

Star Tribune, Editorial Board – “So a different, more politically sustainable approach should be tried. Fortunately, bills introduced in the House and Senate recognize that need. Specifically, the Fiscal Commission Act of 2023 in the House and the Fiscal Stability Act of 2023 in the Senate would fundamentally do the same thing: create a bipartisan, bicameral commission on fiscal reform and responsibility.”

Colin Mortimer, Center for New Liberalism – “A bipartisan fiscal commission that can explore every avenue to addressing our national debt, including raising revenues and cutting excessive spending, would hold both Democrats and Republicans to account and help restore trust in our government.”

Ingrid Jacques, USA Today – “And there are concrete things they can do. Chief among them is that the president and Congress should back the formation of a bipartisan fiscal commission, which a growing number of lawmakers and policy experts have said would be the best hope of making a dent in our spending.”

Stephen R. Rolandi, PA Times – “However, there may be a positive development on the horizon—earlier this month, Senators Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Joe Manchin (D-W.VA.) introduced legislation to create a statutory, bi-partisan national fiscal commission tasked with developing proposals to lower the national debt.”