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."
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:
— CRFB.org (@BudgetHawks) February 7, 2018
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) honored him on the Senate floor:
In addition, many paid tribute on Twitter:
Rest in peace @CaptainPAYGO, from someone you never knew but who learned a lot from you.
— Anna Stelter (@annajstelter) January 28, 2018
Our friend and fellow centrist Ed Lorenzen passed away this week along with his son Michael. It's hard to imagine DC without @CaptainPAYGO. We'll miss you. Our statement https://t.co/0dUZs8DwfA @BudgetHawks
— Jim Kessler (@ThirdWayKessler) January 29, 2018
I’m completely shocked and heartbroken by the loss of Ed Lorenzen (ie @CaptainPAYGO) who died trying to save his son from a fire.
I’ve worked with Ed for 7 years - he was a mentor, colleague, and friend. And the most devoted father I know. I miss him.https://t.co/fehiR13dx7
— Marc Goldwein (@MarcGoldwein) January 29, 2018
Heartbroken to hear of the tragic loss of @CaptainPAYGO & his beautiful son. Ed was the source's source for any budget issue, however obscure. "Ed knows EVERYTHING," as one told me. But the sweet photo of him w/his son suggests he also knew what was most important in life. R.I.P.
— Jeanne Sahadi (@jjsahadi) January 29, 2018
I am just catching up to this. On the Hill I relied on Ed for years as a budget expert & willing explainer. He had patience, wit & perspective. He served Congress well & honorably. I’m so very sad to see this. RIP @CaptainPAYGO https://t.co/0DKeNK3HiK
— Major Garrett (@MajorCBS) January 28, 2018
The fiscal hawk community @BudgetHawks @ConcordC @pgpfoundation suffers a huge, shocking loss--and yet nothing compared with the tragedy for @CaptainPAYGO's (Ed Lorenzen's) family. https://t.co/ulmnCGQ197
— Diane Lim (@economistmom) January 28, 2018
Anyone who ever covered budgets, deficit & debt in Washington knew and respected Ed Lorenzen @CaptainPAYGO who was passionately committed to fiscal rectitude when no one else was. His death & his son’s are horrible tragedies & a loss to the nation when we need him most.
— (((JonathanWeisman))) (@jonathanweisman) January 28, 2018
Beyond horrified to hear of the death of Ed Lorenzen @CaptainPAYGO and his young son. Ed was so helpful and smart in understanding the budget, and was nice enough to agree to appear on a CQ budget panel we had. Just a great guy. https://t.co/KW9eJEHb8Q
— Jane Norman (@JaneNorman) January 28, 2018
So sad to hear about the tragic death of Ed Lorenzen (@CaptainPAYGO) and his son. I worked with Ed for a number of years in Congress, and he was one of the smartest and most dedicated people with whom I have had the pleasure to work. RIP. https://t.co/2B12gy749W pic.twitter.com/TwG3ULk2cC
— Bruce Lesley (@BruceLesley) January 28, 2018
unfathomable - God bless Ed Lorenzen aka @CaptainPAYGO - who tragically passed away trying to save his son in a fire - rest in peace
— Bill Sweet (@billsweet) January 28, 2018
This brought tears to my eyes; I'm shaken. Ed Lorenzen was among the finest public servants, and good man, that I ever met in my years of covering Congress & the White House.
RT'g Steve's fundraising link for the family next. https://t.co/p9b2nML8kB
— Jackie Calmes (@jackiekcalmes) January 28, 2018
Ed Lorenzen's (@CaptainPAYGO) tragic death is a personal loss and for his family & anyone who cares deeply about our nation. We worked together on the Hill when he was with @charliestenholm through @BudgetHawks. He was problem-solver and is irreplacable. https://t.co/rGWclu1G69
— David B. Kendall (@DavidBKendall) January 28, 2018
So sad about the deaths of Ed Lorenzen and his 5 year old son in a fire. Always helpful with his insight, including during Republican Obamacare repeal effort, and so smart.
— Billy House (@HouseInSession) January 28, 2018
The Cafe Milano scene is the worst part of DC. And people like Ed Lorenzen are the best part of DC. https://t.co/vmYbLl6KYV
— Seth Hanlon (@SethHanlon) January 28, 2018
— Romina Boccia (@RominaBoccia) January 28, 2018
A huge, devastating loss — of a wonk and a human.
— Caitlin Owens (@caitlinnowens) January 28, 2018
— Kellie Mejdrich (@kelmej) January 28, 2018
just heard about @CaptainPAYGO who was always so smart, responsive and, most importantly, friendly and pleasant to work with
what a loss for the wonk world, my thoughts are with his family
— Dylan Scott (@dylanlscott) January 28, 2018
Still in a state of shock, not sure what to say. It's hard to think only 3 days ago I was emailing w/ @CaptainPAYGO about how CBO would score Nelson-Collins.
Ed was one of the sweetest, genuine, most knowledgeable people I've had the honor of getting to know. You will be missed.
— Loren Adler (@LorenAdler) January 28, 2018
Both Hoyer and Pelosi out with statements today on tragic passing of Dem budget wonk Ed Lorenzen, a rare DC creature: a Nice Guy Who Knew His Stuff.
— Jonathan Nicholson (@JNicholsonInDC) January 28, 2018
Devastated by the tragic death of Ed Lorenzen (aka @CaptainPAYGO) and his son. Ed exemplified the best of the DC policy community: insight, caring and a focus on what really mattered. I learned a lot from him and will miss him.
— Jason Furman (@jasonfurman) January 28, 2018
What a tragic loss of a brilliant budget expert and a loving family man.
— Eric Pianin (@pianin_eric) January 28, 2018
Personal note: Both Ed and I are @AmericanU alumni, and he was very supportive during my first foray into fiscal policy when I was still just an undergrad there. He's one of a handful of budget nerds whom I truly owe my thanks for helping set me on this career track.
— Ben Ritz (@BudgetBen) January 28, 2018
Shocked & devastated at the tragic loss of my good friend Ed Lorenzen (@CaptainPAYGO )& his young son Michael. The DC budget policy community is small, & Ed was so highly-influential & respected by all sides. More importantly, Ed was the friendliest person. Just devastasting.
— Brian Riedl (@Brian_Riedl) January 28, 2018
So so tragic. He was a smart, funny, extremely helpful guy. Prayers for him family https://t.co/1YrYTCg9WB
— julie rovner (@jrovner) January 28, 2018
Just so sad, so tragic, so devastating to hear of the loss of Ed Lorenzen & his child. I worked with Ed for over 20 years & agree or disagree, he was always decent, dedicated, hard-working & one of top Congressional budget experts of his generation. RIP. https://t.co/rXmfkqMbpB
— Gene Sperling (@genebsperling) January 28, 2018
Truly saddened to learn of the passing of @CaptainPAYGO and his young son in a tragic house fire this weekend. Ed was a gentle soul who cared deeply about bringing down America’s debt. https://t.co/hM8sMcwA0g
— Heather Long (@byHeatherLong) January 28, 2018
Awful, awful. My thoughts are with his family. https://t.co/JPmduIshhr
— Catherine Rampell (@crampell) January 28, 2018
Oh my God, this is just terrible. Ed was such a nice guy, I have known him since the Charlie Stenholm days. https://t.co/DjLs5JAF0B
— John Bresnahan (@BresPolitico) January 28, 2018
This is sad and beyond belief. Ed Lorenzen was truly one of the good men in DC. I was honored to know him and work with him. He and I worked together on Social Security reform. As a grandparent I can only imagine the pain of losing a five yr old. Grieving today. https://t.co/80SG7NIY4q
— Reid Ribble (@RepRibble) January 28, 2018
I met @captainPAYGO through Twitter where we agreed, spared & generally loved talking budget policy. This is so awful. And reminds me that Twitter isn’t all horribleness & fake followers. It can sometimes be wonderful and real & connect people who care about the same nerdy stuff. https://t.co/KknnBJH3ne
— Mattie Duppler (@MDuppler) January 28, 2018
My heart is broken to pieces. Please take a moment to think of the Lorenzen family. He was a great man. https://t.co/3Nx8G1lay0
— Matt Bylis (@mattbylis) January 28, 2018
Just learned of the passing of .@CaptainPAYGO. Ed was highly respected in our budget world and a brilliant guy who I enjoyed getting to know and learn from. I’m going to miss our near constant emailing back and forth.
— Paul Winfree (@paulwinfree) January 28, 2018
Oh my goodness. Condolences to Ed's family, and to his work family @rachaelheisler @MayaMacGuineas @MarcGoldwein. I was so privileged to do a little work with Ed a few years back. A great human and advocate https://t.co/9UvLswyRQx
— Larry McNeely (@LarryMcNeely1) January 28, 2018
— Rachael Heisler (@rachaelheisler) January 28, 2018
I’m still in shock at the passing of @CaptainPAYGO. Ed was kind, earnest, smart, hardworking, and dedicated. I’m glad to have known him and to have gotten to work with him.
— Bobby Kogan (@BBKogan) January 28, 2018
So sad to hear about @CaptainPAYGO. He was the intellectual soul of the Blue Dog Caucus, and one hell of nice guy. We are all diminished.
— tzuk (@tzuk) January 28, 2018
Ed Lorenzen, an influential budget and policy staffer in D.C., died in a Rhode Island fire on Friday. He was found with his 4-year-old son in his arms, a family friend said. https://t.co/QnrDM9OgEu pic.twitter.com/8NZ3wYrxDO
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) January 29, 2018