Yesterday, according to Congressional Quarterly (subscription required), Reps. Jim Cooper (D-TN) and Frank Wolf (R-VA) sent around a “Dear Colleague” letter, pledging their support for the Gang of Six’s efforts to create a comprehensive bipartisan deficit reduction plan based on the Fiscal Commission recommendations. This letter comes in response to an op-ed from CRFB board members and Fiscal Commission co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, who declared that “[m]embers of both parties and both houses must publicly support the work of the Gang of Six.”
As Cooper and Wolf write:
The Gang of Six has based their work off of the Bowles-Simpson plan, which is why it is important their discussions not only continue, but they have our bipartisan support…Never has there been a more important time in our nation’s history to come together to rein in our wasteful spending, stop playing favorites with the tax code, and put everything on the table…It is common political posturing for Democrats and Republicans to blame each other for acquiring this debt, but neither side can cast stones. Both are guilty of making new promises we can’t pay for, and tax breaks we can’t afford. It is time to stop using the deficit as a political weapon, and come together to find bipartisan solutions. The Bowles-Simpson plan is bitter medicine, and while not perfect could restore our fiscal health. There is never a convenient time to make tough decisions, but the longer we put off fixing the problem, the worse the medicine will be.
We are thrilled to see this bipartisan team in the House of Representatives coming out in support of the Gang’s efforts. And we hope more members from both parties and both houses will join them. As Bowles and Simpson write, “This is the time for heroes. The country is ready for leaders in Washington to put politics aside, pull together — not apart — put national interest ahead of political interests and put the next generation over the next election.”
We congratulate Reps. Cooper and Wolf for their leadership and courage, and encourage others to join them in providing bipartisan support for the work of the Gang of Six.