WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after President Obama signed an executive order creating a bipartisan fiscal commission led by former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles (D) and former Senator Alan Simpson (R). This action comes a week after statutory “pay-as-you-go” legislation, sponsored by Hoyer in the House, was enacted into law:
“I have long supported the idea of a bipartisan fiscal commission that will set a path toward balanced budgets, and am pleased that President Obama took action today and created one by executive order. Following the enactment of statutory PAYGO, a fiscal commission is the next piece of our effort to bring down the deficit and balance the budget – tasks that are critical for the long-term success of our nation.
“Addressing our fiscal challenges can only be accomplished if all ideas are put on the table to be discussed, and both Democrats and Republicans approach the work in a sincere manner. By giving the commission a broad mandate to consider all parts of the budget without any preconditions, and by selecting Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson to lead the commission, the Obama Administration has shown how seriously they are treating the task ahead. Both men are highly respected and bring the experience needed to make the commission’s work a success. I worked with Erskine Bowles on the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, and know from experience that he is committed to fiscal responsibility and has the ability to build the bipartisan consensus that will be necessary to achieve the commission’s goals. And Alan Simpson has a well-earned reputation for rising above petty politics while fighting strongly for his principles.
“After the Administration reached out to them for their ideas, Republicans have now seen that the framework for the commission created today mirrors the bipartisan Conrad-Gregg proposal. The Obama Administration has opened the door for both parties to sit down and work together in a thoughtful, substantive way, and I hope Republicans will reciprocate and join us in this effort. I’m encouraged that Senator Mitch McConnell has said that he will recommend three Senators to serve on the panel. Participation like this is a good development, and will help ensure the commission reaches a recommendation that has bipartisan support. I hope Minority Leader Boehner follows in his footsteps and announces that he will also appoint nominees soon.
“The stakes are too high for this to be a partisan effort. The current deficits we face are unsustainable, and we cannot delay action.”