A BIPARTISAN PLAN TO REDUCE OUR NATION’S DEFICITS
This bipartisan, comprehensive, and balanced
plan consistent with the recommendations of the Bowles-Simpson fiscal commission that will:
Slash our nation’s deficits by $3.7 trillion/$3.6
trillion over ten years under CBO’s March 2011 baseline, or $4.65 trillion/$4.5 trillion under the original fiscal commission baseline
(which used the President’s 2011 budget request as the starting point for discretionary spending).
Stabilize our publicly-held debt by 2014.
Reduce our publicly-held debt to roughly 70% of
our economy by 2021.
Impose unprecedented budget enforcement.
A COMPREHENSIVE AND BALANCED PROPOSAL
The plan uses a two-step legislative process: (1) an initial
bill that makes immediate cuts; and (2) a process for a second bill to enact comprehensive reform and put our nation on a stable
fiscal path. The plan would:
Immediately implement aggressive deficit reduction down
Cut deficits by $500 billion.
Dramatically cut discretionary spending
Cut nonsecurity and security discretionary
spending over 10 years.
Maintain investments that encourage economic
growth, strengthen the safety net for those who truly need it, and preserve a strong national defense.
Carefully strengthen the solvency of our most important
Spend health care dollars more efficiently in
order to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid while maintaining the basic structure of these critical programs.
Fully pays for SGR (the “doc fix”) over 10 years.
Fundamentally reform our tax code
Reduce marginal income tax rates and abolish the
$1.7 trillion Alternative Minimum Tax.
Encourage greater economic growth.
Enhance the competitiveness of American businesses
and workers against global competition.
Reform spending through the tax code to eliminate
investment distortions and tax gaming.
Change the debate about taxes in America from rate
levels and carve outs to competitiveness, fairness and growth.
If CBO scored this plan, it would find net tax
relief of approximately $1.5 trillion.
Strictly tighten the government’s budget processes
Impose spending caps and security/nonsecurity
Sequester accounts at the end of the year to
recoup any excessive spending by Congress.
Restrict the use of emergency designations that
circumvent the spending caps.
Prevent Congress from exceeding the caps by
requiring a stand-alone resolution subject to a 67-vote threshold, in order to isolate that vote to increase the deficit from any
other policy items.
Reform Social Security for future generations
Ensure 75-year solvency of Social Security and
provide for a decennial review of the program to ensure it remains solvent.
Reform Social Security on a separate track,
isolated from deficit reduction – any savings from the program must go towards solvency.
AN AGGRESSIVE PLAN THAT INVOLVES THE WHOLE CONGRESS
The plan would be implemented through an open, aggressive
two-step legislative process led by committees of jurisdiction and involving the American people by:
Enacting a $500 billion down payment that would secure
immediate deficit savings, while establishing a fast track process for the committees in Congress to specify further savings
Impose statutory discretionary spending caps
Implement numerous budget process reforms.
Shift to the chained-CPI (a more accurate measure
of inflation) government-wide starting in 2012, along with the following specifications for Social Security: (1) exempt SSI from the
shift for five years, and then phase in the shift over the next five years; and (2) provide a minimum benefit equal to 125% of the
poverty line for five years. (According to CBO, the shift to chained-CPI would result in the annual adjustment growing, on average,
about 0.25 percentage points per year slower than the current CPI.)
Repeal the CLASS Act.
Enact concrete policy changes that lock-in
additional savings, including freezing Congressional pay and selling unused federal property.
Require GAO and the Department of Labor to report
to Congress on establishing a more effective unemployment insurance trigger.
Enacting a comprehensive deficit reduction plan that includes
discretionary and entitlement savings as well as fundamental tax reform
Require committees to report legislation within
six months that would deliver real deficit savings in entitlement programs over 10 years as follows:
Finance would permanently reform or replace the
Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate formula ($298 billion) and fully offset the cost with health savings, would find an additional $202
billion/$85 billion in health savings, and would maintain the essential health care services that the poor and elderly rely upon.
Armed Services would find $80 billion.
Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions would find
Homeland Security and Government Affairs would
find $65 billion.
Agriculture would find $11 billion while
protecting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Commerce would find $11 billion.
Energy would find $6 billion and may propose
additional policies to generate savings that would be applied to the infrastructure deficit or to reduce the deficit.
Judiciary would find an unspecified amount through
medical malpractice reform.
Require the Finance Committee to report tax reform
within six months that would deliver real deficit savings by broadening the tax base, lowering tax rates, and generating economic
growth as follows:
Simplify the tax code by reducing the number of
tax expenditures and reducing individual tax rates, by establishing three tax brackets with rates of 8–12 percent, 14–22 percent, and
Permanently repeal the $1.7 trillion Alternative
Tax reform must be projected to stimulate economic
growth, leading to increased revenue.
Tax reform must be estimated to provide $1
trillion in additional revenue to meet plan targets and generate an additional $133 billion by 2021, without raising the federal gas
tax, to ensure improved solvency for the Highway Trust Fund.
If CBO scored this plan, it would find net tax
relief of approximately $1.5 trillion.
To the extent future Congresses find that the
dynamic effects of tax reform result in additional revenue beyond these targets, this revenue must go to additional rate reductions
and deficit reduction, not to new spending.
Reform, not eliminate, tax expenditures for
health, charitable giving, homeownership, and retirement, and retain support for low-income workers and families.
Retain the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child
Tax Credit, or provide at least the same level of support for qualified beneficiaries.
Maintain or improve the progressivity of the tax
Establish a single corporate tax rate between 23
percent and 29 percent, raise as much revenue as the current corporate tax system, and move to a competitive territorial tax system.
Require the Budget Committee to report legislation
within six months that would:
Extend discretionary caps and enforcement
mechanisms through 2021.
Ensure Congressional action to reduce the deficit
if the debt-to-GDP ratio after 2015 has not stabilized.
Review total federal health care spending starting
in 2020 with a target of holding growth to GDP plus one percent per beneficiary and require action by Congress and the President if
Achieve program integrity savings of $26 billion
in entitlement programs to curb fraud, abuse, and other wasteful spending government-wide.
Create a working group to provide updated budget
concepts for CBO and OMB.
Provide expedited floor consideration for a
consolidated bill meeting these instructions:
If any committee fails to report entitlement
program savings, impose across the board cuts to programs in that committee’s jurisdiction as necessary to achieve the required
savings. To protect programs that benefit low income families, exempt from across the board cuts those most in need.
Allow a group of at least five senators from each
party to introduce a resolution in lieu of the non-reporting committee.
If a resolution receives 60 votes on the floor,
those recommendations will be added to the comprehensive bill.
If the Senate does not agree to those
recommendations, the comprehensive bill cannot come to the floor under the special procedures established in the first (down payment)
Bar substitute floor amendments that upset the
revenue/spending balance or any amendments that make the deficit worse, but place no other limits on debate or the substance of
Allow the Majority Leader and Minority Leader to
limit debate and the number of amendments, or impose other substantive restrictions by agreement, so that the Leaders can manage the
bill with a process that satisfies 60 Senators and the process cannot be held up by a small group on either side. If the Leaders
cannot agree, the bill is considered under the regular order.
Hold any such comprehensive bill that receives 60
votes at the desk pending consideration of the Social Security bill.
Enacting Social Security reform if the comprehensive
deficit reduction plan has passed
Consider Social Security reform, if and only if
the comprehensive deficit reduction bill has already received 60 votes.
Reform must ensure 75-year solvency of the program
and provide for a decennial review to ensure it remains solvent. Any savings from the program must go towards solvency, not deficit
If Finance fails to report Social Security reform
meeting the instructions, allow a group of at least five senators from each party to introduce a resolution with recommendations that
meet the committee’s instructions.
Bar substitute amendments that worsen the solvency
of Social Security.
Combine any qualifying Social Security reform bill
that receives 60 votes on final passage to the comprehensive bill at the desk before being sent to the House as a single bill.
Vitiate the vote on the deficit-reduction bill if
the Social Security reform bill does not receive 60 votes.