Senator appointed to effort to reverse federal budget deficit
Washington, D.C. - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo has been appointed to be one of six U.S. Senators to serve on the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Crapo was selected by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to the Commission created by President Obama to "identify policies" to improve the federal government's fiscal situation. The Commission, co-chaired by Erskine Bowles, former White House Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton, and former Senator Alan Simpson (R-Wyoming), has been tasked with making recommendations to the President and Congress on ways to address the public debt and the widening federal budget deficit.
"A bipartisan effort to reduce the debt must focus on the principal reason we accrued the debt, and that is the explosion in federal spending," Crapo said. "This Commission has an historic opportunity to deal with some of our nation's most pressing problems using common-sense solutions. We can make debt reduction real and sustainable if we prioritize and reduce federal spending and do not increase taxes. We should also examine how to cut fraud, abuse and duplication in many federal programs. The only way we can start paying down our unsustainable debt is by starting to spend less than the government takes in taxes from the American people. In doing so, we will restore the economic engine in this country and provide the job creation that is so necessary for economic vitality."
The Congressional Budget Office's estimate of the President's most recent budget request estimates that the public debt will increase from 63 percent of GDP in 2010 to 90 percent in 2020. Entitlement programs and debt payments alone already constitute 60 percent of all federal outlays and that figure is projected to grow to 75 percent in the next few years.
"We cannot continue to borrow our way out of this nightmare scenario," Crapo added. "It has been estimated that our economy would have to grow at double-digit levels for 75 years just to close the debt gap. So, we cannot tax and spend our way out this problem. Clearly, the problem is not that taxes are too low; the problem is unrestrained spending."
The other Senate members of the Commission include: Senators Max Baucus (D-Montana), Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma), Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota), Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) and Judd Gregg (R-New Hampshire). Crapo, a fiscal conservative and budget hawk, is a member of the Senate Budget Committee and was a member of the Senate Republican Fiscal Reform Working Group.
Crapo, who originally co-sponsored legislation to set up a similar commission (S. 2853), holds strong objections to increasing taxes as a way to reduce the federal deficit. He explained, "As the legislation moved forward, it became more and more evident that there was nothing in place to prevent taxes from being the fallback solution to the increasing deficit. This was something I could not support, and I ultimately had to vote against establishing that particular commission as defined by that measure."
Crapo concluded, "There is, however, no question of the need to eliminate our debt and deficit. I have strong hope that this commission will find a way to accomplish this priority for the American people. I agreed to serve on this commission in order to make the tough recommendations that are necessary to put our fiscal house in order. This has the potential to be far more than a means to justify raising taxes on the American people. In addressing the country's debt and deficit, we will bring more economic security and stability to American families and provide stronger job growth in our country. It is my intention to work fully on this commission to explore a broad range of options that will bring truly sustainable deficit reduction and help us as a nation to retire our national debt."