FACT CHECK: The President’s Plan Reflects The Balanced Approach of Simpson-Bowles, Romney’s Doesn’t

Mitt Romney falsely claimed that the President walked away from the Simpson-Bowles commission’s recommendations. But that’s not true. The President has proposed a balanced approach to deficit reduction that takes a framework consistent with Simpson-Bowles – asking for both spending cuts and additional revenues from the wealthiest and closing corporate loopholes. Romney has refused to ask for a penny more from millionaires and billionaires and instead could explode our deficit with massive new tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and increased defense spending, with no way to pay for it. In fact, Romney’s running mate was on the commission and voted against its recommendations.


PolitiFact: President Obama Has “Outlined Deficit Reduction Measures Similar To Those Proposed By The Commission.” “PolitiFact New Jersey investigated whether Obama failed to ‘stand up for the bipartisan debt solutions of the Simpson-Bowles Commission,’ and found that Christie is not entirely right. The president did not fully embrace the commission’s recommendations at the outset, but Obama later outlined deficit reduction measures similar to those proposed by the commission. Even the commission’s co-chairs -- former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles under President Bill Clinton, and former Republican U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson -- have said so. ‘We are encouraged that the President has embraced a balanced, comprehensive approach to deficit reduction similar to that outlined in the Fiscal Commission report,’ Bowles and Simpson said in an April 13 press release.” [PolitiFact, 9/29/2011]

  • PolitiFact Rated The Claim “Barack Obama Failed To Stand Up For Proposed Solutions Of [The Simpson-Bowles] Deficit Reduction Commission” Mostly False. [PolitiFact, 9/29/11]

Fiscal Commission Co-Chair Erskine Bowles: “I'm Confident That [President Obama] Supports Deficit Reduction That Is Generally In Line With The Recommendations Of The Bipartisan Debt Commission.” “After a long meeting with Mr. Obama earlier this month, I'm confident that he supports deficit reduction that is generally in line with the recommendations of the bipartisan debt commission. That does not mean that he supports every single thing we recommended, nor do I or any other commissioner who voted yes on the report we issued. But it was apparent to me that the president does support the general framework of the ‘Simpson-Bowles Plan,’ and he is willing to do his part to put our fiscal house in order.” [Erskine Bowles Op-Ed, Wall Street Journal, 3/29/12]

Center On Budget And Policy Priorities: President Obama’s Budget Would Stabilize The Debt Over The Coming Decade Through “A Balanced Combination Of Spending Cuts And Revenue Increases.”  “If Congress enacted the Obama budget in full and its economic assumptions proved correct, the debt would stabilize over the coming decade although, as the White House acknowledges, policymakers would have to subsequently enact significant further deficit reduction to keep the debt stable in future decades. The budget either achieves or approaches this key fiscal target for the coming decade with several trillion dollars in deficit reduction, through a balanced combination of spending cuts and revenue increases.” [Center On Budget And Policy Priorities, 2/16/12]


Tax Policy Center Headline: “The Bowles-Simpson and Romney Tax Plans Have Almost Nothing in Common” [Howard Gleckman, Tax Policy Center, 8/9/12]

Tax Policy Center’s Howard Gleckman: The Claim That Romney’s Tax Plan Is Similar To Bowles-Simpson Is “Absurd. These Two Proposals Could Hardly Be More Different.” [Howard Gleckman, Tax Policy Center, 8/9/12]

Politico Headline: “Erskine Bowles To Romney: You’re No Bowles Or Simpson.” [Politico, 8/10/12]

  • Erskine Bowles: “I Will Be The First To Cheer If Romney Decides To Embrace Our Plan. Unfortunately, The Numbers Say Otherwise: His Reform Plan Leaves Too Many Tax Breaks In Place And, As A Result, Does Nothing To Reduce The Debt.” [Erskine Bowles Op-Ed, Washington Post, 8/9/12]
  • Erskine Bowles: “The Romney Plan, By Sticking To Revenue-Neutrality And Leaving In Place Tax Breaks, Would Raise Taxes On The Middle Class And Do Nothing To Shrink The Deficit.” [Erskine Bowles Op-Ed, Washington Post, 8/9/12]


Fox News’ Chris Wallace: Ryan Criticized President Obama For Not Acting On The Simpson-Bowles Plan He Opposed. Chris Wallace: “And he also criticized the president for doing nothing about the Bowles-Simpson plan. He was a member of the Bowles-Simpson commission, and he voted against it.” [Fox News, 8/29/12]

Washington Post Editorial: Ryan’s Account Of Debt Commission Omitted That Ryan Himself “Was Unwilling To Follow The Brave Lead Of The Republican Senators On The Panel Who Supported Its ‘Urgent’ Recommendations.” “Mr. Ryan skewered the president in his speech for creating and then walking away from a bipartisan debt commission that, he said, ‘came back with an urgent report.’ We’ve expressed similar frustrations, but omitted from Mr. Ryan’s self-serving rendition was the uncomfortable fact that Mr. Ryan served on that very commission but was unwilling to follow the brave lead of the Republican senators on the panel who supported its ‘urgent’ recommendations.” [Washington Post, Editorial, 8/29/12]

Salon’s Joan Walsh: Ryan “Derided The President For Walking Away From The Simpson Bowles Commission Deficit-Cutting Recommendations When Ryan Himself, A Commission Member, Voted Against Those Recommendations.”  [Joan Walsh, Salon, 8/30/12]