Idaho Democrats Walt Minnick and Larry LaRocco are among 118 former lawmakers urging Congress and President Obama to undertake comprehensive tax and spending reforms with "sufficient savings to put our debt on a sustainable path while, in the short term, preserving the economic recovery."
The letter titled "We've Found Common Ground So Can You" appeared Tuesday in Politico, an influential Washington, D.C., political website. It was signed by 67 Democrats, 49 Republicans and two independents and sponsored by Fix the Debt, a coalition of business and other groups pressing for big changes to government subsidies, health and retirement benefits, Medicare, Social Security and tax reform.
Among the partners in Fix the Debt is BIPAC, a Washington, D.C.-based business group led by Idahoan Greg Casey, a former president of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry and chief of staff to former Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho. Another partner is the Washington-based Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which is led by Maya MacGuineas.
MacGuineas was in Boise in February for a forum on budget and debt issues that included Idaho GOP Sen. Mike Crapo and Idaho GOP Rep. Mike Simpson, who have advocated major reforms that include spending cuts and tax reform that increases revenue. Also at the forum were Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and former Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo. Simpson, the co-chairman of Obama's 2010 debt commission, is a signatory to the Fix the Debt letter. Crapo was a member of the commission.
The forum was sponsored by the James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research at the University of Idaho. The late James McClure, a Republican, represented Idaho in Congress from 1967 to 1981, six years in the House and 18 in the Senate.
Read Dan Popkey's blog post for the full text of the "We've Found Common Ground So Can You" letter.