The NEXT Big Budget Battle

Introduced: May 21 2012

Congressional Leaders are starting to draw lines in the sand. Considering what we've been through before, what do you want our lawmakers to do? Is it all about budget cuts, all about generating revenue, or something in the middle. Read back to IWD's dialogue on the Simpson-Bowles and the Gang of Six and tell us where you stand on the people and the policies that are the problem or the solution as we face a new deficit crisis. What would you like to tell your Representatives and Senator?

A. Stand firm and don't compromise on anything -- no additional revenue from taxes.

B. Stand firm and don't compromise on anything -- no cuts to entitlement programs.

C. Be ready to compromise -- it's the only way to deal with the deficit.

Other comments...


Note From IWD: "Weigh-Ins" are no longer an active feature on IWD. Our members expressed a preference for longer dialogues. The content of the previous Weigh-Ins remains on the site for your enjoyment and enlightenment. 




Member Responses


Results of the Weigh-In

21% said no new taxes: "Stand firm and don't compromise on anything -- no additional revenue from taxes."

12% said don’t touch entitlements: "Stand firm and don't compromise on anything -- no cuts to entitlement programs."

67% said the problem won’t be solved unless both of those are part of the plan – and that it will take compromise: "Be ready to compromise -- it's the only way to deal with the deficit.

Additional comments from Members:

"I can’t see it happening without compromises – and without bipartisan cooperation."


"Back to the drawing board – I dread the posturing that takes place whenever Congress tries to “get their way” on important issues."


"I was surprised (and pleased) to learn that Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles are working with 47 Senators from both parties and a similar number of Representatives to try to come up with a compromise on upcoming financial decisions that total $7 trillion. I think, in retrospect, President Obama made a BIG mistake when he let their proposal die in 2010. Of course, there was something in it for everyone to find fault with – applying their own particular prejudices – but it was carefully thought out and better than anything before or since.

Note from IWD: It does indeed seem that Simpson-Bowles is not yet dead.  Recently (first week in June), people are paging back through the months and taking a new look at Simpson/Bowles recommendations. IWD focused on that in April 2011. Click here to read about Simpson Bowles (read from the beginning or see April 18 posting) – who they are and what happened to their original plan. Here's a link read about their current work with members of Congress.




"I am very concerned that the members who signed the “no-tax” pledge are going to derail any attempts to devise a compromise plan."

Note from IWD: Refresh your memory -- a lobbyist and conservative activist named Grover Norquist convinced nearly every Republican senator and representative (including speaker of the House, the Senate minority leader and all six Republican members of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction) to sign "The Pledge" that they will not vote to raise taxes, no matter what.

Note from IWD:

An overview of recent proposals in Congress:

  • February: President Obama presented a $3.6 trillion budget for next year. In the House, Republicans forced a roll call vote. Republicans voted no because they have been opposing Obama’s approach all year. Democrats voted no as a block because they thought Republicans would accuse them in re-election campaigns of being in favor of all parts of the plan, even though they might oppose some parts. The vote was 414-0 against the plan.


  • Late March: The Simpson Bowles plan was defeated in the House of Representatives 382-38.


  • The Congressional Black Caucus also presented a plan that was more generous to many domestic programs than what is generally favored by Republicans. That proposal was defeated 314-107.


  • Mid-April: Kent Conrad, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, presented a long-term budget proposal that was modeled after Simpson-Bowles. He proposes to postpone voting on the proposal until after the election to  modeled not only the policy after Simpson-Bowles, but the process, too. Simpson-Bowles put the vote of the commission after the 2010 election to try and insulate it from politics as much as possible. That’s what we’re trying to do here by going to mark-up today and laying out the plan but saying clearly that I don’t expect a vote after the election.


  • Early May: Paul Ryan presented a plan that passed in the House 218 to 199, with 16 Republicans and all Democrats voting no. It replaces about $100 billion in the mandatory cuts next year and more than $300 billion over the next decade. Instead of making cuts in military spending, the plan proposes to cut $83 billion in federal retirement benefits, cut Medicaid programs by $48 billion, and reduce food stamps by more than $36 billion.