Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) today announced his support of a new budget outline by Republican Alan Simpson and Democrat Erskine Bowles to get our nation's fiscal house in order.
The new framework reflects a number of the key elements of the 2010 Simpson-Bowles proposal, which was the result of the president's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. The plan reduces the nation's debt to sustainable levels, reforms entitlement programs and the tax code, and calls for significant spending reductions throughout the budget.
Like the original Simpson-Bowles plan, this framework would put everything on the table and require compromise from both sides. Equally important, like the initial proposal, this framework would "turn off" sequestration by calling for smart, targeted reforms to reduce spending, rather than the currently scheduled blunt, across-the-board approach that does not take into account program functionality.
The new proposal improves on the initial Simpson-Bowles plan by forcefully addressing new health care spending and building on negotiations between President Obama and Speaker Boehner. It includes roughly $5 trillion in budget reduction over 10 years through a four-step process:
Steps one and two have been taken already through discretionary and defense spending reductions from the Budget Control Act of 2011, and tax revenue from the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.
Step three calls for reforms both to the tax code and entitlement programs -- particularly the need to bend the health care cost curve -- and further spending cuts of $2.4 trillion. Roughly one quarter of the savings would come from tax reform, while another quarter could be found through reforms to health care programs. The remaining savings would result from stronger discretionary savings caps, mandatory spending cuts, changes to the way the government calculates inflation, and lower interest payments on the national debt.
Step four would work to make Social Security, highway funding, and Medicare sustainable for the long term.
"The Simpson-Bowles plan offers the best road map to get our fiscal house in order -- period," Wolf said. "There will be compromises that are painful for both parties, but we have to act now if we want to prevent a major decline in America.
"I just met with high school seniors from Loudoun county on Monday morning, and they kept asking, "why is there a crisis every month?'" Wolf continued. "Their instincts are right. This isn't the way a great nation should govern, and Washington should stop playing politics while the country suffers.
"Until people stop saying "it's my way or the highway' when it comes to budget negotiations, we only continue down the dysfunctional the road we're on," he added. "This framework again calls for us to do what we need to: sit down and work together. I am encouraged by this proposal and, as always, will continue to work with members of both parties to on this issue to ensure that our nation's debt is reduced in a responsible manner."
Wolf has been a longtime supporter of the recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles Commission, which was modeled off of his 2006 SAFE Commission Act. Earlier this month, he introduced a bipartisan amendment to H.R. 444, The Require a PLAN Act, which would require the president to incorporate the Simpson-Bowles recommendations into his budget submission to Congress. The amendment received 75 votes -- an increase from the 38 votes a similar amendment in the previous Congress received. Last year, he was one of 38 bipartisan members to support the Cooper-LaTourette bipartisan budget proposal, which was based on Simpson-Bowles. In March, Wolf was featured in a USA Today article praising the "brave 38" for their support of the measure. In September, he was honored by the Concord Coalition for his commitment to bipartisan policies that will get the nation's fiscal house in order.