Statement on the Passing of Ed Lorenzen + How You Can Help

For Immediate Release

It is with profound sadness that the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget announces the untimely death of our senior advisor, dear friend, colleague, and fiscal superhero, Ed Lorenzen, and his son, Michael, in a tragic house fire Friday evening. The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

We are stunned and heartbroken. It is hard to process such an unbelievable tragedy. Our office will never be the same.

To us, Ed was Captain PAYGO – a nickname earned from his Twitter handle and work writing the 2010 PAYGO law – the author of a subtle, legendary wit that could not be matched by anyone.

To his children, Ed was a real superhero. We worked every day with a kind, loving man who cherished his three kids, bringing them to the office on occasion and lighting up in their presence and at the sound of their names.

To our nation, he was a brilliant budget mind – his guidance and expertise is a void that cannot be filled. He could recite budget law like a poet.

Part of the reason Ed was so good at his job is he truly believed in what he was doing. As part of a 20-year career on Capitol Hill, he served as staff to both former Congressman Charlie Stenholm from 1990 through 2004 and as Senior Policy Adviser for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer from 2007 through June of 2010, as well as with a number of fiscal organizations. His accomplishments are too numerous to count, including helping to write the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act (PAYGO) of 2010 and serving as staff on the Simpson-Bowles Commission.

He was brilliant, dedicated, and generous with his time – and invaluable to everyone he worked with, and the many others who relied on him for information and help. His emails explaining details of complicated topics, peppered with stories, musings, and humor, were longer than many of us could read in one sitting. Often they came in the middle of the night. If you asked Ed a question or for help, he never said no. The outpouring of sympathy from the hundreds of people who he helped, including from many who didn't know him but say they relied on his work, has been staggering and moving, and is a true tribute to his life.

It is moments like these that you realize oftentimes you spend more time with the people you work with than your own family, and they become so familiar in your daily life that you cannot imagine rounding the corner and not seeing their smile or hearing their voice.

As we come to terms with a world without Ed, we choose to celebrate his life and his many accomplishments that will far outlast us all.

If you would like to pay tribute to Ed, you can do so here on Facebook.

This Facebook page will be updated with funeral arrangements and ways you can help the family.


On Tuesday, April 17, friends, family, and colleagues gathered at the Library of Congress for a memorial service in honor of Ed and Michael. Organized by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), it featured speeches from Hoyer, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, and CRFB President Maya MacGuineas. 


If you would like to donate to his two surviving children, we have set up a long-term educational fund for Zacheri and Penny.

For more information on the circumstances of his untimely death, you can read this article in The Boston Globe.

The Washington Post published a heartfelt editorial recognizing Ed as "the sort of person Washington always needs but too rarely appreciates."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) both released statements mourning the loss.

Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) recognized Ed in his opening remarks at a House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee hearing.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) opened a Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management hearing by holding a moment of silence:


Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) honored him on the Senate floor:

In addition, many paid tribute on Twitter: