Simpson and Bowles Present Four-Step Debt Reduction Plan

Democrat Erskine Bowles (R) and Republican Alan Simpson speak to reporters after a 2011 meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, DC.

Democrat Erskine Bowles (R) and Republican Alan Simpson speak to reporters after a 2011 meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, D.C. The chairmen of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform presented their proposal to reach $2.4 trillion in savings over 10 years on Feb. 19, 2013, in Washington. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

The chairmen of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform presented their proposal to reach $2.4 trillion in savings over 10 years on Feb. 19. Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson suggest a mix of more revenue and spending cuts.

“There is no perfect solution to our fiscal problems,” they wrote in an official summary of the plan. “However, we believe strongly and sincerely that an agreement on a comprehensive plan to bring our debt under control is possible if both sides are able to put their sacred cows on the table in the spirit of principled compromise.”

The bipartisan commission was instated by President Obama in 2010 in order to help solve the problem of ballooning budget deficits. Bowles, a Democrat and former chief of staff for President Clinton, along with former Sen. Simpson (R-Wyo.) presented their proposal in Washington,D.C., Feb. 19.

“[W]e call for an additional $2.4 trillion of deficit reduction over the next ten years,” they said at a breakfast event hosted by Politico’s Playbook. 

The proposal envisions $600 billion cuts from Medicare and Medicaid, something that democrats are traditionally opposed to. The two statesmen also want to raise revenue by $600 billion, something Republicans usually try to avoid. The other $1.2 trillion are supposed to come from cuts to discretionary spending. 

The chairmen both want to avoid the “mindless” spending cuts of the sequester and phase in budget savings as soon as the economy is on a stable path of recovery. They believe that only a genuine bipartisan effort can lead to success. 

“The problem is real, the solutions are painful, and there is no easy way out,” their summary concludes. “What we are calling for is by no means perfect, but it could serve as a mark for real bipartisan negotiations on a plan to reduce the deficit and grow the economy.”



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