Ten Leading Policy Experts: Now is the Time for Fiscal Commission

Nov 13, 2023

Contact: Jeremy Rosen

Portman, Panetta, Heitkamp, Zandi and Others Call for Bipartisan Fiscal Commission, Outlining Spending and Revenue Reforms to Stabilize the Debt

NEW YORK (November 13, 2023) — Ten U.S. fiscal and economic policy experts from across the political spectrum are calling for a bipartisan fiscal commission to break through legislative gridlock and address our $33 trillion and rising national debt. As part of the Peterson Foundation’s Expert Views series, the authors describe why the time is right for a commission, the best way to structure a commission for success, and which spending and revenue reforms could be included in a bipartisan package to stabilize the debt.

The authors highlight a range of ways to help ensure a commission’s success, recommending that it be bipartisan, seek public engagement, involve congressional leadership and the White House, and include a statutory process for expedited consideration of its recommendations. The essays also include dozens of deficit-reducing spending and revenue options for a commission to consider, comprising trillions of dollars of savings in the budget.

“Along with an overwhelming 9 in 10 American voters who support the creation of a fiscal commission, these respected policy experts are in unanimous agreement that the time is now,” said Michael Peterson, CEO of the Peterson Foundation. “Our fiscal challenges are serious but also solvable, and a bipartisan commission is the best approach to look comprehensively across the entire budget and break through gridlock on this critical issue. These experts offer actionable insights and specific spending and revenue policy options that can put our nation on a stronger, more sustainable path.”

Across party lines, Americans agree that the time is right for a commission: recent polling shows 90% of Democratic voters and 90% of Republican voters are calling for the creation of a bipartisan fiscal commission.

Many lawmakers from both parties have expressed the need for a bipartisan fiscal commission, and specific legislation has now been introduced in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Following is a list of the authors and their papers, which can be read in full here:

  • “To Get Our Fiscal House in Order: Put Politics First” by Heidi Heitkamp, former U.S. Senator (D-ND), current Director of the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics
  • “Fiscal Commissions: Promises and Disappointments” by G. William Hoagland, Senior Vice President of Bipartisan Policy Center
  • “Our National Debt: The Choice between Leadership or Crisis” by Leon E. Panetta, former U.S. Secretary of Defense and Chair of the Panetta Institute for Public Policy
  • “The Debt Crisis is Here” by Dana M. Peterson, Chief Economist, and Lori Esposito Murray, President of the Committee for Economic Development, at The Conference Board
  • “A Bipartisan Tool to Improve America’s Fiscal Future” by Robert Portman, former U.S. Senator (R-OH) and Distinguished Visiting Fellow in the Practice of Public Policy at American Enterprise Institute
  • “Yes, Fiscal Commissions Can Succeed with a Committed Congress” by Brian Riedl, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute
  • “Setting Up a Fiscal Commission for Success” by Ben Ritz, Director of the Center for Funding America’s Future at Progressive Policy Institute
  • “Making Tough Fiscal Choices to Protect Future Generations” by Sita Slavov, Professor of Public Policy at the Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University
  • “A Way to Brighten America’s Dark Fiscal Outlook” by Mark Zandi, Chief Economist at Moody’s Analytics

This set of essays is the fourth in a series of the Peterson Foundation’s Expert Views initiative, which launched in 2021 to convene respected voices from across the political spectrum to share ideas, analysis and solutions to our nation’s most pressing fiscal and economic challenges. Previous editions have included essays on Bipartisan Policymaking under Divided Government; Inflation, Interest and the National Debt; and America’s Fiscal and Economic Outlook.

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About the Peter G. Peterson Foundation

The Peter G. Peterson Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that is dedicated to increasing public awareness of the nature and urgency of key fiscal challenges threatening America's future, and to accelerating action on them. To address these challenges successfully, we work to bring Americans together to find and implement sensible, long-term solutions that transcend age, party lines and ideological divides in order to achieve real results. To learn more, please visit www.pgpf.org.

Expert Views: Fiscal Commission

We asked experts with diverse views from across the political spectrum to share their perspectives.

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