Tester pushes for strategy to cut deficit, create jobs, grow U.S. economy

‘Balanced deficit reduction plan’ will move country in the right direction, experts tell Tester’s panel

(U.S. SENATE) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today pushed leading budget experts on the best ways to grow the economy and create jobs while cutting the nation’s budget deficit.

Tester, chairman of the Economic Policy Subcommittee of the Senate Banking Committee, organized today’s hearing to explore the short-term and long-term implications of the federal deficit.

Tester pressed panel witnesses to recommend a deficit reduction strategy for Congress and for the joint select committee, a bipartisan group of 12 lawmakers that will recommend to Congress at least $1.2 trillion in savings.

“The most sensible approach, and really the only in practice that would work, is a balanced one,” said Roger Altman, a former Deputy Secretary of the Treasury.

Tester is part of a bipartisan group of 35 Senators urging the joint select committee to cut the nation’s budget deficit by $4 trillion over ten years.

“America’s budget challenges are severe and Congress must make smart, tough decisions now in order to safeguard our economic future,” Tester said.  “Today’s panel was clear: balanced, long-term deficit reduction that includes spending cuts and tax and entitlement reform is the only way we will put this country on the right track.”

The witnesses told Tester that political compromise and significant deficit reduction would also offer greater economic certainty for businesses and spur investment and job creation.

“You should see some improvements in consumer spending and in business investment and hiring—some of those spigots should begin to turn a bit,” Altman told Tester when asked about the Montana impact of a big deficit reduction agreement.

“It is important to recognize that debt reduction is not at odds with economic growth strategy, but rather, a central part of one,” added Maya MacGuineas, President of the non-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Tester invited Bill Johnstone, President and CEO of Davidson Companies based in Great Falls, Mont., to participate in today’s hearing.  Unable to attend, Johnstone submitted written testimony in which he agreed that concern over the federal deficit is negatively affecting investment.

Johnstone’s written testimony is available online HERE.

Tester’s witnesses represented both sides of the political spectrum.  In addition to Altman, MacGuineas, and Johnstone, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the President of the American Action Forum and former chief economist for President George W. Bush, testified at Tester’s hearing.

Video of Tester’s hearing is online HERE.