A bipartisan group of senators have asked that the first of three official presidential debates pose questions to the candidates about the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction recommendations.
Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) today sent a letter to the co-chairs of the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates asking that the nearly $16 trillion national debt top the agenda.
“In light of the gravity of this issue, we believe that the Debate Commission should ask each presidential candidate to devote specific and extensive attention to the question of how the candidates would get our nation’s fiscal house back in order during the first debate dedicated to domestic policy,” the letter asks.
President Obama in 2010 created the commission helmed by former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles to craft a deficit-reduction plan. Their report failed to reach the supermajority of 14 votes out of the 18 on the panel. Their plan is a mix of spending cuts, tax hikes, and entitlement reduction and reform.
Obama has brushed off the Simpson-Bowles recommendations. Mitt Romney has complimented the general Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction philosophy but not all of the report’s details.
“Specifically, we request that you ask the presidential candidates which of the recommendations of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform they would adopt as part of their plan to reduce the deficit. As part of this discussion, we believe that it would be essential to engage the candidates in a detailed discussion of their priorities for tax and entitlement reform,” the senators asked the debate chiefs.
“We hope that such a debate would begin a national discussion that results in a consensus that both of our major national parties can endorse to reduce the deficit and place our nation’s economy on a path to future growth.”