WASHINGTON — Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Congress needs to reduce the deficit with a comprehensive and bipartisan plan.
That was the message that four dozen members of the new Campaign to Fix Debt brought to Capitol Hill Tuesday and Wednesday, part of an intensifying national effort to cut through the political din and shrink the nation’s red ink.
Chris Vance, former chairman of the Washington state Republican Party, came to Washington, D.C., as one of the campaign’s four state co-chairs. The debt group was created last year by Maya MacGuineas, a high-profile deficit hawk and president of the nonprofit Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
Campaign to Fix the Debt draws heavy financial support from corporations, including JPMorgan Chase and Aetna. But the group says it’s not focusing on specific prescriptions. The campaign loosely supports the Simpson-Bowles blueprint, a 2010 deficit-reduction plan issued by a bipartisan presidential commission.
For instance, Simpson-Bowles calls for gradually increasing the age for qualifying for Social Security to beyond 67.
Vance described that as “minor structural change” to help put Social Security on firmer footing, along with reducing benefits for higher-income beneficiaries.
Such changes many not strike everyone as minor, Vance said, “but it’s minor compared to what some Republicans have proposed, which is to turn Social Security into a privatized” retirement plan.
Other state co-chairs of the Campaign to Fix the Debt include state Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens and Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt.