Entries in Kent Conrad (2)


CBO Projects Record Deficit 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office predicted Wednesday this year’s federal budget deficit will come in at $1.5 trillion, a new record. 

“For 2011, the Congressional Budget Office projects that if current laws remain unchanged, the federal budget will show a deficit of close to $1.5 trillion, or 9.8 percent of GDP,” the CBO said in a new report.

Senate Budget Committee chairman Kent Conrad called the projections a “wake-up call to the nation.”

“CBO’s report should be another wake-up call to the nation,” Conrad said in a paper statement. “In the near-term, due to passage of the tax extension package and the slow pace of the economic recovery, CBO is now expecting to see deficits of more than $1 trillion a year continuing through at least 2012. And as disturbing as those near-term deficits are, the long-term outlook is even worse. It is the deteriorating long-term outlook that is the biggest threat to the country’s economic security.”

“The fiscal challenge confronting us is enormous,” Conrad said. “To solve this problem, it will require real compromise and a great deal of political will. We need everyone at the table. And we need to have both sides, Democrats and Republicans, willing to move off their fixed positions and find common ground. We can’t continue to put this off. We need to reach an agreement this year. The President’s Fiscal Commission provided a model for a bipartisan way forward. Now it is up to the Administration and members on both sides of the aisle in Congress to come together to finish the job.”

On the jobs front, CBO projected that the unemployment rate will fall to 9.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 and 8.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Deficit Commission Is 'Shock Therapy,' Sen. Conrad Says

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- A top senator on the president's deficit commission is standing strong in the face of fierce backlash against the commission's draft recommendations.

"You know, a certain amount of this is shock therapy," Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., told ABC News on Sunday. "There are different options and, of course, what everybody has fastened on is the most extreme of the options. But, look, the important thing for people to know is that we are borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend. That's utterly unsustainable. It can't continue much longer, so it's got to be dealt with."

Asked if he would be willing to get on board with one of the more controversial parts of the proposal -- eliminating so-called tax expenditures -- Conrad said, "There is one proposal that eliminates all the tax preferences, all the tax deductions, all the tax exclusions, and uses 90 percent of the revenue to reduce rates," he said. "I don't favor that approach.”

"Fundamentally, if we're going to raise revenue, I don't think the way to do it is to raise rates. I think the way to do it is to eliminate some of the loopholes that exist in the system," the senator said.

The co-chairmen of National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, Wednesday released a draft proposal for reducing the nation's deficit and debt. It called for substantial cuts in spending, cutbacks in Medicare and Social Security payments, along with some tax increases.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio