U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz was one of 38 members of the U.S. House of Representatives to receive an award from an organization that stresses solutions to budget deficits and rising entitlement program costs.
The Concord Coalition recently honored 22 Democrats and 16 Republicans at a dinner in Washington, D.C., to celebrate its 20th anniversary.
The lawmakers received the Paul E. Tsongas Economic Patriot Award, named in memory of the former Massachusetts senator and presidential candidate.
In March, the House rejected by a vote of 382-38 a plan put forth by Republican Rep. Steve LaTourette of Ohio and Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee.
Schwartz (D-13th dist.), a member of the House Budget Committee, was among the 38 people who voted for it.
“We’re willing to look at the big fiscal challenges facing the nation,” she said.
The LaTourette/Cooper bill was fashioned after the recommendations of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, chaired by former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming and Erskine Bowles, who served as chief of staff for President Bill Clinton.
The bill would cut $4 trillion over the next 10 years. Two-thirds of the savings would come from spending cuts. One-third would come from tax reform.
“It was truly bipartisan,” Schwartz said.
Democrats weren’t eager to support the bill because of cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Republicans did not favor the proposed elimination of tax breaks. Liberal and conservative organizations lobbied for lawmakers to oppose the bill.
The co-chairmen of the Concord Coalition are former Republican Sen. Warren Rudman of New Hampshire and former Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia.
“We salute Rep. Allyson Schwartz for her courageous support of the Cooper-LaTourette legislation, which was the only bipartisan budget to be voted on in the House this year. In doing so, she put the national interest over partisan and parochial concerns. We wish that more of her colleagues will follow her example,” said executive director Robert Bixby.
The dinner also included a panel discussion with Cooper, LaTourette, Bixby, former Republican Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware and former Democratic Rep. John Tanner of Tennessee.
Schwartz said the country could gain firmer financial footing by eliminating tax breaks for oil and gas companies and the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. She favors making government departments more efficient and holding all of them, including the Defense Department, more accountable for their spending. She’d keep programs that are working and get rid of ones that aren’t. As for further spending at a time when the nation’s debt is more than $16 trillion, she called for “strategic investments.”
The House is not expected to return to session until after the Nov. 6 election.
Schwartz wanted to stay in session to debate tax and Medicare issues, a farm bill and a strengthening of a violence against women law.
The congresswoman will also have to wait for progress on two bills she introduced in the summer.One would give college students and their parents access to complete information regarding student loan options. The other would incentivize innovation and research and development by reducing taxes for companies that manufacture patented products. ••EndFragment