Cooper Statement on Simpson-Bowles Budget Vote

Mar 30, 2012
Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper (TN-05) issued the following statement upon House consideration of the budget alternative he and Rep. Steven LaTourette (OH-14) introduced yesterday, which follows principles outlined by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, co-chaired by former Sen. Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles.

“The bipartisan Simpson-Bowles plan had been vetted, but never tested. Powerful special interests and the leaders of both parties opposed it tonight, but 38 brave souls were willing to do the right thing for the country. When we eventually solve our nation’s deficit problem, the final blueprint will look like this.”

A number of budget experts issued statements in support of the Cooper-LaTourette budget amendment:

Erskine Bowles, Co-Chair, National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and former Sen. Alan Simpson, Co-Chair, National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility

“We strongly and enthusiastically support the bipartisan budget alternative being offered by Congressmen Jim Cooper and Steve LaTourette. The amendment they have put forward is very consistent with the principles, policies and framework in the plan recommended by a bipartisan majority of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform ("Simpson-Bowles Commission") updated to reflect actions taken by Congress and the President since the report was released.

“Because the Cooper-LaTourette budget follows the approach of putting everything on the table, it is coming under attack from partisan interests from both ends of the spectrum. We hope that Members of Congress will ignore these scare tactics and look at the substance of the recommendations in our report. Those recommendations, which are reflected in the Cooper-LaTourette budget, demonstrate that it is possible to raise revenues for deficit reduction through pro-growth tax reforms that reduce tax rates for individuals and businesses. Likewise, our plan demonstrates that it is possible to reform entitlement programs to make them fiscally sound for future generations in a way that preserves and strengthens protections for the most vulnerable in society.

“Congressmen Cooper and LaTourette and the other members sponsoring this bipartisan budget alternative - Kurt Schrader, Charlie Bass, Mike Quigley, Robert Dold and Jim Costa -- have put partisanship aside and stepped forward to make the tough decisions our nation needs to put our fiscal house in order. They are brave leaders who deserve the thanks of everyone who cares about our nation’s future.”

Former U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici and Dr. Alice Rivlin, co-chairs of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force

“The budget resolution proposed by Congressmen Jim Cooper and Steven LaTourette becomes the first truly bipartisan budget effort in the House of Representatives to recognize the need for both spending reform and a tax reform initiative that increases revenues for the future … We hope that the full House of Representatives recognizes the breakthrough contained in the Cooper-LaTourette budget and passes their budget.

“The courage of the members who are supporting the Cooper-LaTourette budget shows that a vital middle can exist in Congress, despite the deeply polarized ideological atmosphere of the recent past …”

Maya MacGuineas, President, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

“These courageous lawmakers have shown that debt reduction need not be a partisan and divisive issue, and that we can put the national interest above all else. In a time of so many partisan proposals for dealing with rising debt, it is truly a breath of fresh air to see these leaders working together on a bipartisan solution - one that makes the tough choices to set the country on the right path.”

Robert Bixby, Executive Director, Concord Coalition

“This budget amendment is a major breakthrough. It gives House members a chance to consider a bipartisan deficit-reduction plan that achieves significant savings from all parts of the budget. More than any other plan under consideration, it puts results ahead of ideological purity.

“We commend the House members in both parties who are supporting this effort to follow up on the commission’s recommendations, and we encourage other members of Congress to join them in pushing for comprehensive and balanced deficit reduction … We hope that this week’s bipartisan budget plan in the House will encourage renewed efforts to follow up on Simpson-Bowles in the Senate as well. This will of course be difficult in an election year. But our fiscal challenges are so large that we simply cannot afford to wait.”

Michael A. Peterson, Vice Chairman, Peter G. Peterson Foundation

“Representatives Cooper and LaTourette have displayed courage and leadership by putting party ideology aside and working together to foster a bipartisan approach to our long-term fiscal challenges.

“In an era of divided government, the only viable fiscal plan is a bipartisan fiscal plan. The House Republican Budget and the Administration Budget reflect the priorities of their own parties, but to address this critical national imperative successfully, both parties will need to make concessions from their preferred positions.

“The Cooper-LaTourette amendment illustrates the types of choices that must be considered if we are going to get our fiscal house in order. Though this first vote was unsuccessful, Representatives Cooper and LaTourette and their supporters have demonstrated a constructive model of the type of bipartisan legislative framework that is necessary to solve our nation’s fiscal challenges.”

Stephen Ellis, Vice President, Taxpayers for Common Sense

“Simpson-Bowles … revealed that even in the hyper-partisan budget resolution debate, there were members of both parties willing to come together to figure out a way forward out of our fiscal mess. These votes showed courage and leadership. We look forward to working with these lawmakers and others to get our spending, revenue and entitlement house in order.”

Read the budget proposal here:PDF iconCooper-LaTourette Amendment.pdf 
A one-page summary may be found here: PDF iconSimpson-Bowles Budget Summary.pdf