December 14, 2010

Crapo: Bipartisan Work Must Continue on Debt

Joins new coalition saying fiscal planning a proper follow-up to tax increase prevention

Washington, D.C. - The bipartisan ideas to reduce the national debt discussed by the President's Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform should be further engaged by the Congress, according to Idaho Senator Mike Crapo. A member of the Fiscal Commission, Crapo spoke on the Senate floor as part of a bipartisan coalition that seeks agreement to make reducing the debt a priority.

Crapo said focusing on debt issues is a natural follow-up to an expected Senate agreement to hold the line against tax increases for every American. Reforming the tax code to make it more fair and competitive should also be a priority in the new Congress.

"As a member of the President's Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, I have had the opportunity over the past year to work on a bipartisan basis to develop a reform proposal that would be an important first step in addressing the most important domestic issue our nation faces," Crapo said.

"This report, although incomplete and imperfect, received the support of 11 of the 18 commissioners, including 5 of the 6 Senators on the commission. Although that number fell short of the 14 commissioners needed to guarantee floor consideration of the proposal here in the Senate, and in the House, we do not have time to start again from scratch. This report should be the basis of fiscal reform legislation considered here in the Senate, and it should be our top priority to turn the commission's recommendations into legislative language.

"I appreciate the bipartisan efforts of my colleagues here, led by Senators Chambliss and Warner, and I will continue to work with them, and all of my colleagues here to aggressively push our Senate leaders to address this most important issue. The legislation we are considering here today is an important measure that we must pass in order to keep our fiscal picture from getting even worse.

"We cannot allow taxes to be increased on any American family or small business in these difficult economic times. It is not our current tax rates that are the cause of our current fiscal problems. Just three years ago, in 2007, our government brought in tax revenue at 18.5 percent of our GDP, with the same exact tax rates we are seeking to extend today. That 18.5 percent is higher than our historic average of 18.2 percent. So, there is no question that we can fully fund our historic levels of government spending with the tax rates in place just as they are now.

"The problem is that our levels of spending in the last few years have far exceeded their historic levels, and our low economic growth and high unemployment have eroded our tax base. The recommendations made by the Fiscal Commission seek to address these problems by proposing pro-growth tax reform and significant spending cuts, enforced by hard spending caps.

"This is exactly the kind of legislation we need in order to start getting our fiscal house in order.  It will not get us all the way there, but it is an important start, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to continue to push for these kind of comprehensive solutions," Crapo concluded.