On November 1, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or Super Committee, invited the co-chairs of two prominent deficit reduction committees to discuss their plans and the Super Committee’s work at a public hearing. The witnesses were former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY), co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, former Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM), and former Congressional Budget Office and Office of Management and Budget Director Alice Rivlin, co-chairs of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force.
The four witnesses all encouraged the Committee to develop a deficit reduction proposal that achieves significantly more than its $1.5 trillion 10-year savings target by limiting future entitlement program spending and increasing revenues. They pointedly suggested that not meeting this target would be a failure.
However, Committee agreement on a proposal that achieves more than $1.5 trillion in savings remains elusive and seems unlikely. Republican members of the Committee continued to resist tax increases and called for significant entitlement reform savings. Democratic members continued to recommend a balanced approach that includes significant revenue increases in addition to entitlement reform savings.