Problem Solvers Release Budget Principles

Earlier this week, the Congressional Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of pragmatic representatives led by Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Tom Reed (R-NY), released a list of budget principles for addressing the national debt once we emerge from the current COVID-19 crisis. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget applauds their focus on setting reasonable budget standards and seeking to build a more responsible budget process.

The group's budget principles appropriately balance the need for continued federal support to address the ongoing pandemic with sustainable longer-term goals to address and improve the nation's fiscal health. The Problem Solvers clearly understand the need for short-term fiscal support as well the longer-term need to address our record-setting national debt. We hope that these reasonable and pragmatic principles, laid out under the leadership of Reps. Scott Peters (D-CA) and Reed (R-NY), set the stage for meaningful deliberations on the national debt and budget goals on Capitol Hill.  

The principles focus on overall fiscal accountability, transparency, and responsibility. Some of the proposals mirror the main points of the Arrington-Peters letter signed by 60 bipartisan Representatives, which included reforms such as implementing a yearly Fiscal State of the Nation, passing the TRUST Act, and setting appropriate budget goals. The set of principles also includes support for pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) enforcement and calls for an end to brinkmanship which has become a toxic mainstay of the current budgeting process.

Below is an excerpt of a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

Congress did the right thing earlier this year by prioritizing the economy and public health needs. Recessions and one-time emergencies are exactly the right time to be borrowing. . . .

We commend the Problem Solvers Caucus for working on a bipartisan basis to put forward common sense budget principles that recognize this. Solutions like adherence to PAYGO rules, annual reports on our nation’s fiscal health, debt-to-GDP targets, and bipartisan trust fund rescue committees would lay the groundwork to put our deficits and debt back on a sustainable trajectory and leave us with more room to respond to future downturns and crises.