CRFB Applauds Fiscal Stability Act
Today, in a show of fiscal leadership and bipartisanship, Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) announced the Fiscal Stability Act, a bill to establish a fiscal commission to address our ever-growing national debt, along with Senators 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). This comes on the heels of a similar proposal in the House by the Bipartisan Fiscal Forum Co-Chairs, Representatives Bill Huizenga (R-MI) and Scott Peters (D-CA).
The commission would be comprised of 16 members, with 12 lawmakers and four non-voting external experts, appointed by the leadership from both parties in the House and Senate. The commission's primary mission would be to produce a plan to improve the nation’s fiscal trajectory with bipartisan backing.
Support has been growing for a fiscal commission with endorsements from members of the House Bipartisan Fiscal Forum, the Problem Solvers Caucus, outside experts, former senators, and former representatives from both sides of the aisle.
The following is a statement from 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.
A commission has the benefit of bringing together a diverse group of lawmakers to delve into the issues, build trust, and provide political cover for policy choices that will not be easy. Our current political environment does not lend itself to these types of difficult choices, but the longer we wait the harder they will be. Our high and rising debt is not only weakening our economy, but also compromising our national security.
There is no guarantee a fiscal commission will be successful. Special interest groups will raise millions of dollars to attack every idea, and many lawmakers will choose partisanship over problem-solving.
But a commission is likely our best hope to tackle America’s immense challenges. Commissions have worked before, and they can work again. Historically, commissions have played pivotal roles in safeguarding Social Security, improving military efficiency, enhancing national security, innovating tax code improvements, and guiding the national discourse on fiscal policy. A commission can help policymakers build upon recent fiscal successes to show we can govern and make hard choices.
Establishing a fiscal commission is an important step toward addressing our nation’s fiscal challenges and securing the budget and economy for future generations. No one should stand in the way of trying to come up with bipartisan compromise solutions.