U.S. Reps. Steve LaTourette (OH-14) and Jim Cooper (TN-05) Introduce Simpson-Bowles Federal Budget Alternative

Press Release

By:  Jim Cooper Steve LaTourette
Date: March 27, 2012
Location: Unknown

U.S. Reps Steve LaTourette (OH-14) and Jim Cooper (TN-05) today announced that they have filed a federal budget alternative based on principles outlined last year by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, co-chaired by former Sen. Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles.

The Simpson-Bowles budget alternative, which has been endorsed by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, would trim the deficit by more than $4 trillion over the next 10 years. Other supporters include: U.S. Reps. Charlie Bass (NH-2), Mike Quigley (IL-5), Tom Reed (NY-29), and Kurt Schrader (OR-5).

The LaTourette-Cooper substitute amendment would put our debt-to-GDP ratio on a downward trajectory, decreasing to 67.9 percent in 2022. Two-thirds of the deficit savings would come from spending cuts and one-third from tax reform. The budget alternative would repeal the sequester enacted by the August Budget Control Act, replacing the automatic, across-the-board cuts due to begin in Jan. 2013 with a comprehensive, balanced plan for deficit reduction.

"The bipartisan budget I support is based on the sound, sober recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles budget where everything is on the table and we trim more than $4 trillion off the deficit. I'm tired of passing bills in the House, watching them die in the Senate and pretending that counts as success," LaTourette said. "Americans want us to work together like adults, pass a budget with bipartisan support in both Houses and have it signed into law. A partisan budget is not the way to go, and the budget modeled after Simpson-Bowles is the only vehicle to get us there."

Rep. Cooper also emphasized the need for bipartisanship, saying: "The budget debate so far has been completely partisan and our proposal is the only one with support from both parties. Republicans and Democrats need to get serious about our deficit and this is the only real plan that will restore America's financial strength."

Former Sen. Alan Simpson urged passage of the bold, bipartisan approach, saying: "I am so very encouraged to see members of both parties working together to put forward a bold and comprehensive budget plan that looks at all parts of the budget and leave no sacred cows out on the range. I believe that if members of Congress step up and agree to a bold plan like this, they will have the true respect and support of the American public."

Meanwhile, Mr. Bowles had this to say: "Congressmen Cooper and LaTourette, and all members who support their budget alternative, should be commended for having the courage to support a comprehensive fiscal plan that accepts the difficult truths about the size and scope of the problem and represents the kind of broad based reform we are going to have to adopt to avoid a crisis. The approach they have put forward represents the best hope for achieving the broad, bipartisan support necessary to enact a serious fiscal consolidation package."

Here are some highlights of the Simpson-Bowles Budget Alternative:

Takes the framework and benchmarks set by the President's bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and puts them into a budget resolution framework. Provides a blueprint for committees of jurisdiction to draft specific policies to achieve savings targets, based on the general principles outlined in the Simpson-Bowles report.

Key principles

Embodies the Fiscal Commission approach

Shared sacrifice: Everything is on the table

Big enough to matter: Cuts the deficit by over $4 trillion over the next 10 years, sufficient to stabilize the debt by 2015 and reduce debt as a percentage of GDP below 70% by 2020

Balanced approach: Achieves deficit reduction with 2/3 spending cuts, 1/3 tax reform

Smart savings instead of dumb cuts: Permanently repeals the sequester required by the Budget Control Act and replaces across-the board cuts with a balanced, comprehensive fiscal plan to reduce the deficit and stabilize the debt

Main elements

Tax reform:

Comprehensive tax reform to promote growth, simplify the tax code, reduce marginal tax rates across the board, and reduce the deficit by $1 trillion through 2021.

Reduces the $1.1 trillion in annual tax expenditures and tax breaks

Reduce tax rates for individuals, small businesses, and corporations

Health care:

Immediate reforms achieving savings of $485 through 2021 based on principles and framework in Simpson-Bowles report to pay for permanent fix to pay doctors treating Medicare patients (SGR fix) and reduce costs over the next decade.

Sets a limit on long-term growth for federal health care spending of GDP+1 requiring additional reforms if the policies in this resolution and other reforms fail to keep spending below targets

Discretionary spending:

Total discretionary spending for FY13 of $1.043 trillion and growth limited to 1% below inflation after 2013 for total savings of $625 billion beyond caps set in Budget Control Act

Additional savings divided proportionally between domestic and defense spending

Other provisions:

Instructions for committees to find approximately $300 billion in savings from other mandatory programs such as agriculture and federal retirement

Bipartisan cooperation to enact plan to strengthen Social Security and put it on a fiscally sustainable path based on the principles and framework outlined in Simpson-Bowles report

Fully repeals sequester and replaces with comprehensive fiscal plan

Strong enforcement mechanisms to enforce spending cuts and ensure budget remains on a path to stabilize and reduce debt as a percentage of GDP