In a hearing of the Senate Budget Committee, Conrad told Geithner about his mixed support for the 2012 budget plan – emphasizing that the president’s long-term plans don’t go far enough in fixing the mounting fiscal challenges America faces.
“Make no mistake, we are at a critical juncture,” said Conrad, who serves as the committee’s chairman. “We are borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend. Spending is at its highest level as a share of the economy in more than 60 years. Revenue is at its lowest level as a share of the economy in more than 60 years. That is unsustainable.”
“We need to return the budget to a sustainable long-term fiscal trajectory,” Conrad added.
Conrad, known as a “deficit hawk,” said any plan must include spending cuts, entitlement changes, and fundamental tax reform that simplifies the tax code, lowers rates, and raises more revenue.
“To solve the long-term challenge, it will require real compromise and a great deal of political will,” Conrad said. “We need to have both sides, Democrats and Republicans, willing to move off their fixed positions and find common ground. We cannot continue to put this off. We need to reach an agreement this year. It is time for the administration and members on both sides of the aisle to come together to get this done.”