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Brookings: Election Doesn't Mean Wasted Fiscal Year

Authors: Pete V. Domenici, and Alice M. Rivlin
February 16, 2012

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Election year doesn't have to be a wasted year on the fiscal front, say Pete V. Domenici, Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center's Debt Reduction Task Force and Alice M. Rivlin, Senior Fellow for Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution, emphasizing the need to slow down the growth of major entitlements and raise additional revenue from an efficient tax system.

The president's budget proposal presents Congress with an opportunity to redeem itself after an embarrassingly dysfunctional first session that ended in the lowest public approval ratings for Congress in recorded history. This is Congress's chance to show that it can make the decisions necessary to fund the government and restore fiscal responsibility--even in an election year.

The president's budget is a credible opening bid in what could be a constructive negotiation. Many will say that we are naïve to expect Congress and the president to negotiate seriously during a year in which control of the House, Senate, and the White House are at stake. The seriousness of the pending fiscal crisis, however, demands that we speak out.

To Congress, we say: Pass a budget resolution this year. Use the powers, including reconciliation, that you have to actually make progress both on economic recovery and reining in debt, and use this opportunity to educate your constituents on fiscal facts.

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