Budget Group Identifies at Least $1 Trillion in Common-Ground Deficit Reduction Measures

A new analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) has identified between $1.1 trillion and $2.6 trillion in possible deficit reduction measures that are common to most or all of four of the major deficit reduction proposals circulating in Washington.

CRFB found "significant overlap" among the fiscal plans proposed by President Obama, House Republicans, the White House's Debt Reduction Task Force, and the "Domenici-Rivlin" Commission plan. The areas of overlap came in discretionary spending cuts, some minor entitlement reform (not including Social Security) and closing some tax loopholes. Most changes where accepted by only some of the four plans, and potential savings were shown in ranges, depending on how each plan addressed that particular provision.

Four areas of possible savings were identified in all four plans: "Discretionary Caps" (saving between $580 billion and $1,590 billion), "reduce farm subsidies" ($5-$30 billion) "Enact Tort Reform" ($0-$60 billion) and "Reform [Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation]" ($5-$10 billion).

No detail was provided on what was meant by "Discretionary Caps" but all four plans include some sort of temporary freeze of discretionary spending at below current levels, with the Republican exempting defense spending from any freeze or cap. Discretionary programs account for roughly one-third of all federal spending.

"Building off of the areas where there is the most agreement may prove an excellent starting point [for deficit reduction negotiations]" said CRFB president Maya MacGuineas.

According to their website, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget is "a bipartisan, non-profit organization committed to educating the public about issues that have significant fiscal policy impact."