The Blue Dog Coalition, comprised of fiscally conservative House Democrats, unveiled on Wednesday a set of benchmarks for fiscal reform and called on the president and members of Congress to put forward a bold, comprehensive package to reduce the long-term deficit and put the country back on a fiscally sustainable path.
The budget outline calls for measures to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade, stabilize the national debt at or below 60 percent of GDP by 2024, and returning discretionary spending levels to 2008 by 2013. In regard to deficit reduction, the coalition recommended a balance of two-thirds spending cuts, one-third tax increases, with everything on the table for consideration, including cuts to defense and non-defense spending, taxes, entitlements and other mandatory spending, as well as structural reforms to the budget and spending process. In many ways, the proposal echoes the recommendations put forward by the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission. In fact, the Blue Dogs’ budget framework was immediately praised by supporters of commission, as well as co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson.
“The Blue Dogs have done an excellent job outlining the parameters for legislative action to confront our mounting debt,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, in a statement. “Their framework is bold and balanced, and we’d all be lucky if the final deal reflects their framework.”
“The President and congressional leadership should heed the call,” she added.
Bowles and Simpson offered their support in a joint statement. “We are so very encouraged to see the Blue Dogs get out in front of this issue by putting forward a very serious set of principles on how to attack this debt and deficit problem, and indicating their willingness to reach out to both sides of the aisle to start having a really honest conversation about the long term fiscal health of the country,” they said. “No plan is perfect, but any plan that follows the guidelines put forward by the Blue Dogs will significantly improve our nation’s fiscal future, in the near-, medium-, and long-term. It is refreshing to us to see a group on Capitol Hill have the courage and vision to place the national interest ahead of the special interests.”
The announcement comes amid reports that Republican leaders in the House are reaching out to Blue Dog Democrats to gauge support for a potential budget compromise with Senate Democrats.