Report:

Toward Common Ground 2017

Bridging the Political Divide with Deficit Reduction Recommendations for Congress
Released by: U.S. PIRG and National Taxpayers' Union Foundation

As we enter the budget season under a new administration, our nation faces enormous fiscal challenges. The national debt stands just shy of $20 trillion, numerous unfunded obligations increase the debt burden substantially, and policymakers will soon have to decide how to address the debt ceiling – the statutory limit on the amount of debt the government can issue. It is time to set aside politics and work on concrete and bipartisan solutions to put America’s finances back on track.

It is in this spirit that National Taxpayers Union Foundation and U.S. Public Interest Research Group have joined together to propose a list to Congress of more than 50 recommendations to reform the future spending commitments of our nation. If enacted in their entirety, these changes would save taxpayers close to $263 billion over the coming decade.

Our organizations may differ about what constitutes a proper regulatory and tax system, but we are united in the belief that the federal government spends at a level that is not fiscally sustainable, and often detrimental to the interests of the American people. Within this project, we mutually identify areas of wasteful, cronyistic, and excessive spending that plague our federal budget.

We hope that these bipartisan spending cuts and reforms will (1) provide Congress with a number of examples of spending reductions that can at least marginally help rein in federal spending, and (2) show that there are areas of agreement that bridge ideological divides if only we seek them out. The recommendations in “Toward Common Ground 2017” touch nearly every portion of federal expenditures, including entitlements, defense spending, wasteful subsidies, and a broad range of improvements to the efficiency and effectiveness of discretionary programs. They include large items, such as a $15 billion reform of the U.S. Navy’s Ford class aircraft carriers and relatively small ones, like $10 million in spending for the publishing and unsolicited distribution of the Federal Register to federal employees. The proposals are specific, detailed, and actionable items that Congress and the Administration could pursue right now to reduce spending, and ensure stability for America’s long-term budget. 

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