PROBLEM SOLVERS ADDRESS NEED TO CONFRONT BUDGET CRISIS WITH PRINCIPLES
WASHINGTON— With more than 215,000 Americans dead and the deficit hitting a record $3.1 trillion, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause terrible human and economic loss across the United States. To better confront the economic fallout sparked by the pandemic, the Problem Solvers Caucus endorsed a set of budget principles to get the federal deficit back on track once the COVID-19 crisis comes to an end.
The budget principles were introduced by Problem Solvers Reps. Scott Peters and Tom Reed. they later brought the principles to the Caucus for endorsement where more than 75 percent of the 50-member Caucus agreed to support them.
“For far too long, we have allowed our nation’s budget process to fall into disarray and partisan spending priorities at the expense of working families today and future generations of Americans who will bear the brunt of our federal deficit,” said Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Tom Reed. “The principles prepared by the Caucus should serve as a critical guide to how our nation reorganizes and reforms its federal budget after we’ve delivered short-term relief for the American people.”
"As legislators, it is our job to proactively address problems before their unintended consequences wreak havoc on American families, students, teachers, and frontline workers," said Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair Congressman Josh Gottheimer. "This bipartisan budget proposal does just that by outlining critical reforms we should enact to deal with our deficit, once this pandemic is behind us. We must continue to look towards the future while simultaneously helping and addressing our economic recovery."
“In times of crisis, when the economy is struggling and households across the country are losing income, there’s no question the government should borrow money to protect the lives and livelihood of the American people,” said Rep. Scott Peters. “Then, during periods of growth, we must correct our course to get our budget back on track. After the short-term stimulus has done its job and the economy recovers, we must form a bipartisan budget reform agenda that tackles medium- and long-term deficit reduction."
“I will never take for granted that southern Nevadans have entrusted me to spend their taxpayer dollars wisely. Especially during this pandemic, Congress needs to invest in services and programs that help the American people,” said Rep. Susie Lee. “The Problem Solver’s Caucus Budget Principles will help our nation plan for the long- term, while prioritizing how to most responsibly and efficiently use the federal budget to pay for these services that Americans rely on.”
The Problem Solvers Budget Principles include:
- Support for building a sustainable, fiscally responsible budget to invest in Americans and be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.
- Support for paying down our debt when the nation’s economy is in good shape.
- Recognizing that the federal government’s balance sheet can afford targeted spending to mitigate the effects of economic downturns, disasters, and emergencies.
- Support sustained assistance to the economy while the COVID-19 pandemic persists and while the unemployment rate remains at record levels.
- Support for transparency measures to strengthen awareness of the nation’s finances, including its debt and deficit. The Fiscal State of the Nation Resolution aligns with this assertion.
- Support for accountability mechanisms to help Congress demonstrate greater accountability in navigating the decisions necessary to improve the country’s fiscal health. The TRUST Act would support this plank.
- Support for responsible, thorough plans to establish budgetary goals to lower the government’s debt in relation to the size of the economy, or GDP.
- Support including the Fiscal State of the Nation, the TRUST Act, and/or legislation to establish budgetary goals in a future COVID-19 relief package to address our budget crisis once the economy recovers.
- Support curbing brinksmanship related to the debt limit, which risks the full faith and credit of the government due to artificial limits, and tying such reform to meaningful debt targets.
- Support paying for legislation and the House rules in place (Pay-As-You-Go) to enforce this principle.