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Blue Dogs release their fiscal reform benchmarks
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U.S. Rep. John Barrow (D-Savannah) joined with his colleagues of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition to announce the Blue Dog Benchmarks for Fiscal Reform – an aggressive set of targets for long-term fiscal reform and deficit reduction that includes cutting the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 years, with the largest deficit cuts in history by 2014. The Blue Dogs also advocated keeping all options on the table in an effort to bring Republicans and Democrats together for a responsible, bipartisan discussion about the long-term fiscal health of the country.

“It wasn’t just one part of the federal budget that got us in the fix we’re in, and we won’t get out by focusing on just one part of the federal budget either,” said Barrow, Blue Dog co-chair. “Our goal is to put everything on the table — tax reform, spending cuts, new accountability measures — and to start a real conversation with folks on both sides of the aisle about how to get our country back on a fiscally sustainable path.”

“We are spending all of our time in the House in a debate over 15 percent of the federal budget when the truth is we could eliminate every single non-defense federal program and still run huge annual deficits,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Ross (D-Arkansas), Blue Dog co-chair. “Targeted cuts in spending are an important part of the solution, but we are kidding ourselves — and the American people — if we think cutting a few hundred billion dollars is going to eliminate our deficit and solve our long-term debt crisis. We have to take a comprehensive approach to our nation’s finances, and no one party can do it alone. The Blue Dogs are inviting everyone to the table because until we start having a grown-up conversation, we will continue to mortgage our future on the backs of our children.”

Following are the Blue Dog Benchmarks for Fiscal Reform:

• Largest deficit cuts in history by 2014

• Cut the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 years

• Stabilize the debt and maintain a debt ratio to 60 percent of GDP by 2024

• Return to 2008 spending levels by 2013

Reduce the deficit to 2.3 percent of GDP in 4 years

•Reduce the size of govern ment

• Achieve deficit reduction with 2/3 spending cuts, 1/3 tax reform

The Blue Dog Coalition also believes the following must be on the table for consideration:

Discretionary spending cuts – both security and non-security

Tax reform

Entitlement reform

Other mandatory policies

Process reforms

The Blue Dog Coalition was formed in 1995.  Currently there are 25 members of the Blue Dog Coalition.