Begich Joins Colleagues in Call for New Efforts to Reduce Deficit
Letter to Senate Leadership asks for special process for dealing with long-term debt
Joining nine of his Senate colleagues, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich signed a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D - NV) asking for his support in adopting a special process to approach the federal deficit and the nation's long-term fiscal imbalances.
Citing the upcoming vote by Congress to increase the national debt limit in coming years, the letter calls for support in developing procedures to deal with the national deficit outside of the "regular order of Congress."
"We strongly believe that as part of the debate to increase the debt limit, Congress needs to put in place a special process that allows Congress and the Administration to face up to our nation's long-term fiscal imbalances - and allows for deliberation and a vote on a comprehensive package addressing these issues," Begich and his colleagues write.
Begich has begun discussions on potential ways to address the deficit with the Senate Deficit Caucus; an informal group of Senators who are working on solutions and proposals to help alleviate the national deficit.
"Current discussions are a first and small step towards finding solutions to the national deficit," Begich said. "At nearly $12 trillion, our debt has become unmanageable. It has come so far as to threaten our national interests through our borrowing from foreign creditors."
Begich supports a debt-fighting commission proposed by Senators Kent Conrad and Judd Gregg, leaders of the Senate Budget Committee. The commission's intent would be to end the normal budgetary process that has contributed to the nation's $12 trillion debt. The panel would be modeled after the BRAC process used to evaluate military base closures. A special task force would focus on closing the gap in the federal budget between projected revenues and expenditures, and then make recommendations to Congress which would then have to vote on the entire package.
Begich is also a cosponsor of Senate pay-go legislation (S.1600) which would require new government spending to be deficit neutral, and The Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009 (S. 10).