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WASHINGTON -- In a report released Thursday titled Toward Common Ground 2020: Bridging the Political Divide with Deficit Reduction Recommendations for Congress, the National Taxpayers Union Foundation and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund laid out a set of over 50 bipartisan, cost-saving proposals for the federal budget totaling nearly $800 billion.
Before the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the U.S. was already on track to surpass a $1 trillion deficit this year, the only time in U.S. history outside of the Great Recession. The unprecedented public health and economic crisis has necessitated more than $2 trillion in relief and recovery spending so far. With the House expected to approve more emergency funding today, and more spending packages likely on the horizon, the deficit and debt will continue to rise even higher.
Once Americans’ most immediate needs are taken care of and the outbreak starts to subside, lawmakers will face the challenge of adopting a 2021 federal budget at a time of reduced revenue.
“This crisis has hammered home that it's important for the federal government to be fiscally-responsible in good times, so that there is a cushion in times of crisis. Unfortunately, fiscal mismanagement put the government more than $1 trillion in the red even before this crisis hit,” said NTUF Research Director Demian Brady. “When the economy stabilizes and recovers, it will be all the more important for policymakers to come together across the aisle to make real steps toward fiscal responsibility for the federal government.”
Recommendations in the Toward Common Ground report include proposals to end non-essential spending, such as funding for a former president to have offices and staff after leaving office. It also includes ways to streamline inefficient spending, such as allowing the U.S. Postal Service to convert business mail to curbside and centralized delivery, instead of only door-to-door like residential mail.
“Government spending is a reflection of our nation’s values and priorities,” said R.J. Cross, co-author of the report and Tax & Budget advocate for U.S. PIRG Education Fund. “Emergency spending to survive a pandemic is consistent with those values; spending on wasteful or damaging federal programs is not.”
While NTUF and U.S. PIRG Education Fund differ on many issues, the groups have come together to agree on this set of proposals that will put the federal government and American taxpayers on more solid fiscal ground.
"Just as Americans have found common ground in the fight against COVID-19, so too must our leaders find common ground to eliminate inefficient and irresponsible spending once the crisis has passed. Our groups hope this report sets an example," concluded Cross and Brady.
National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF) is a nonpartisan research and educational organization that shows Americans how taxes, government spending, and regulations affect them.
U.S. PIRG Education Fund is an independent, non-partisan group that works for consumers and the public interest. Through research, public education and outreach, we serve as counterweights to the influence of powerful special interests that threaten our health, safety or well-being.
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