Super Committee Can Keep "Go Big" Momentum Going by Calling for Another Stage

Nov 17, 2011

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and many others have called on the Super Committee to find two or three times its mandated $1.5 trillion in budget savings. If the Super Committee is unable to agree on all the details before its November 23 deadline around the corner, we hope it will set the stage for continued efforts early next year to "Go Big" in order to keep the momentum going and put serious reforms in place.

In a new analysis yesterday, CRFB urges the Super Committee to recommend a two-stage process if they don't have the time to reach agreement on all the technical details of serious entitlement and tax reforms. (This would technically represent a third stage if the Budget Control Act counts as the first stage, but we'll refer to it as a second stage). If such a process is used, it should include several elements, including a serious downpayment on savings and strong enforcement, to prove it's real and credible and to ensure that additional savings will materialize. We discuss several different possible methods, including that the Super Committee could recommend that Congress continue or reconfigure the Super Committee. But the ultimate goal needs to be another $4 trillion in savings.

As we argue in the analysis:

  • Go Big: Achieve savings large enough to stabilize and reduce the debt as a share of the economy;
  • Include a large and meaningful down payment;
  • Include a detailed framework for the second stage;
  • Put in place an expedited process to achieve additional savings within the next three to six months, with fast-track status;
  • Allow for the consideration of other plans if larger plan is not adopted;
  • Establish a credible enforcement mechanism to ensure the required savings are achieved.

Click here to read the full paper on how a two-stage process would work.