President Obama signed an executive order this morning establishing a new, bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. The Commission’s co-chairs will be former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Senate Whip Alan Simpson.
The Commission’s goal is to put forward proposals to balance the budget (excluding interest payments on the national debt) by 2015 and to meaningfully improve America’s long-term fiscal outlook. Members will be appointed by the leaders from both political parties in both houses of Congress as well as by the President.
Peter Orzsag, wrote on the OMB’s blog “Meeting the medium-term target means that by the middle of this decade, we would be paying for the operations and programs of the federal government and not increasing our debt relative to the size of the economy; under current projections, the result would be stable overall deficits (including interest payments) hovering around 3 percent of GDP. The Commission will also examine changes to address the growth of entitlement spending and the gap between the projected revenues and expenditures of the Federal government over the long term.”
He continued, “In the past, our nation’s leaders used extraordinary processes – much like this fiscal commission – to construct solutions that, for example, helped address Social Security’s looming imbalance in the early 1980s. We believe that the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform can be just as successful.”