April 24, 2014

Citizen Groups Urge Congress and the President to Rein in Federal Debt

 WASHINGTON -- Citizen groups originally convened by The Concord Coalition today called on Congress and President Obama to produce “a bold, comprehensive plan to avoid an explosion of federal debt that could devastate the economy, weaken our national security and unfairly burden future generations.”

The statement said such a plan would need both spending reductions and tax revenue increases, as recently recommended by the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force.

The statement, entitled “The National Debt Is a Real Threat,” is being sent today to the White House and members of Congress.  It was developed by Concord’s Fiscal Advisory Councils and signed by their leaders and other concerned citizens in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The Fiscal Advisory Councils have been active over the last two years in studying federal budget issues, helping to educate others in their communities, and taking their concerns to elected officials in Washington.

“We seek to assure the economic growth and fiscal sustainability of this nation free from the encumbrances of growing debt and creditors, whether foreign or domestic; to increase the likelihood that our children and grandchildren will enjoy an enhanced quality of life, and to reduce the widening disparity in incomes and wealth within the U.S. population,” the advisory councils said.  “At the core we must regain our national values and replace a pervasive short-term focus with long-term thinking.”

The statement expresses concern about a financial crisis unless more responsible fiscal policies are put in place. It also says that sacrifices would be necessary to protect the nation’s position of global leadership.

Noting their geographical and political diversity, the advisory councils emphasize the importance of citizens working together to advocate more responsible policies in Washington: “It is clear to us that only when we act as a united, national citizenry can we hope our representatives will listen and act.”

Robert L. Bixby, Concord’s executive director, said the statement accurately reflected the public anxiety and frustration that his organization sees around the country.

“In city after city, we have found that public sentiment is ahead of elected officials,” Bixby said. “Once people understand the magnitude of the challenges facing the United States, they are emphatic in saying they want their elected officials working on a broad, long-range plan to protect the country’s future.”

The statement is also available at www.concordcoalition.org .

###

The Concord Coalition is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to fiscal responsibility. Former U.S. Senators Warren B. Rudman (R-NH) and Bob Kerrey (D-NE) serve as Concord's co-chairs and former Secretary of Commerce Peter G. Peterson serves as president.