Monday, April 18, 2011

Washington Journal Special Series: National Debt

Focus on Bi-partisan Fiscal Commission

Monday, April 18, 2011

As both political parties released competing plans to reign in spending, the Washington Journal spends the week examining a bi-partisan proposal released by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform in December.
The 20-member bi-partisan commission, led by former Republican Senator Alan Simpson and former Clinton Chief-of-Staff Erskine Bowles, was chartered by President Obama to come up with ways to reduce the nation's debt and deficit.
Congressman Paul Ryan presents the Republican plan.
J. Scott Applewaite/AP
Their plan, called "The Moment of Truth," cuts $4 trillion by cutting spending, raising revenue, and reforming entitlements.
After the plan was released, President Obama endorsed some elements but not the entire plan.  In his long-term budget proposal released last week, he adopted some of the commission's ideas. 
The president's outline proposes $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next 12 years. It calls for cutting non-security discretionary spending by $770 billion, reducing security spending by $400 billion and repealing Bush-era tax cuts for the "wealthiest Americans." His plan also aims to save $480 billion from Medicare and Medicaid.
To promote those ideas, the President will host three town halls beginning Tuesday in northern Virginia, California and Nevada. 
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) was a member of the commission but did not support the final report in part because it kept health care reform in tact.  Instead he released his own budget proposal, which passed the house last week with only Republican support. 
His plan would cut spending by at least $5 trillion dollars over the next decade by cutting discretionary spending, reforming Medicaid into a block grant program, creating a voucher system for Medicare and reducing taxes.
At 9:15 am EST each day this week, the Washington Journal explores different components of the commission's proposal.  Coverage began today with former Budget Committee Chair Rep. John Spratt (D-SC).
Also Monday, the Washington Journal spoke with Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former Chief Economist of the President's Council of Economic Advisors for President George W. Bush.  

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