Connie Mack Pitches Penny Plan to Committee Studying Deficit Reduction
Around the State
This week, Florida Republican Congressman Connie Mack brought to the attention of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction his plan to reduce the size and scope of the federal government and balance the budget by 2019.
The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, assigned the task of cutting $1.2 trillion from the federal government over the next decade, was set up this summer as part of the deal to break up the stalemate in Washington over raising the federal debt ceiling. The committee consists of six members of each party, divided equally between senators and congressmen, and is led by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas.
Mack, along with Senate sponsor U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., sent a letter to Murray and Hensarling on Thursday highlighting their proposed One Percent Spending Reduction Act of 2011. The proposal backed by Mack and Enzi would mandate a 1 percent reduction in federal spending from 2012 until 2017, before imposing a spending cap in 2018. That cap would mandate the total cost of the federal government not to exceed 18 percent of the total Gross Domestic Product. Mack and Enzi maintain that their proposal, which backers have labeled the Penny Plan, would cut $7.5 trillion from the federal government over the next decade. The measure has earned the backing of a number of prominent Republicans in Congress as well as conservative organizations like the National Taxpayers Union and FreedomWorks, a Washington-based tea party movement organization led by former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey.
In their letter, Mack and Enzi argued that their proposal would enable the committee to set up a “deficit reduction package that exceeds the minimum targets included in the Budget Control Act.”
“By reducing overall spending by 1 percent each year for the next six years, the Penny Plan would take spending down to 18 percent of gross domestic product, cap it at that level, and balance the budget by bringing spending in line with the 30-year historical average for revenue.” argued Mack and Enzi. “This combination of gradual reductions and overall spending caps provides a reasonable way to bring spending under control and keep it there.
“While we fully acknowledge that tough decisions need to be made to balance the budget, Americans know that doing anything less means we will continue to face deficits and mounting debt,” they added. “Individuals, families, and small businesses across the country have had to find ways to cut a penny or more out of their household or business budgets, and we believe the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction can do the same for our country. The costs of waiting to make the difficult choices are too high, as our European friends are discovering. If we do not make serious spending cuts now, our children and grandchildren will have no choice but to make deeper and more painful cuts down the road.”
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (850) 727-0859.