Today, President Obama unveiled his fiscal year 2014 federal budget request. The following is the Campaign to Fix the Debt's statement on the important reforms the budget puts on the table and how it sets the stage for finding consensus on fiscal reform.
The Campaign to Fix the Debt is very encouraged that President Obama’s budget proposals released today would begin to put the debt on a downward path as a share of the economy. While ideally the President would go further toward ensuring the debt follows a downward path over the long term, and not just this decade, the proposal represents what could be a starting point for productive and bipartisan budget negotiations.
Among the specific provisions of the President’s proposal are reforms to entitlement programs – the true drivers of our long-term debt – along with increased revenues and other spending cuts. Any comprehensive budget fix will have to address all areas of the budget. Among these specifics is the switch to chained CPI – a technical correction to the way the federal government indexes spending programs and the tax code to price changes – a switch that would save hundreds of billions of dollars from both the spending and revenue sides of the budget. The President’s proposal for CPI also includes protections for the poorest and most vulnerable – a core principle the Campaign to Fix the Debt has always supported. The President also proposes cost-cutting measures to federal health care programs, defense, and other domestic spending. While we believe some of these proposals should go further to address the debt and ensure important programs remain solvent – especially on shoring up Social Security’s finances – we applaud the President for including measures, such as further means-testing of Medicare premiums and reduction of agricultural subsidies, that can be helpful in building bipartisan support.
The Campaign to Fix the Debt will continue to highlight policy consensus where it exists and to use this window of opportunity to keep advocating for a bipartisan, comprehensive agreement to control the debt for decades to come. And while we are heartened by the President’s willingness to put some important reforms on the table, we will keep pushing both sides of the aisle, and the White House, towards finding consensus on serious fiscal reforms while also creating a stable fiscal environment for the next generation.