ATR and CFA have called on the U.S. Senate to reject the Conrad/Gregg commission proposal, and are instead calling on Members to set up a BRAC-like spending-only commission, which should operate under the watchful eye of the public. From our letter:

The proposal put forth by Sens. Conrad and Gregg is a bad deal for taxpayers. As written, it will almost certainly lead to a repeat of the debacle at Andrews Air Force Base, the infamous 1990 budget deal, in which taxpayers were promised $2 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases, but were left higher taxes and higher spending instead.

On the other hand, a commission modeled after the Defense Base Closure Realignment Commission (BRAC) which led to the successful closure of military bases that were underused, would be a prudent mechanism to address our nation’s fiscal problems.  The BRAC process, put in place by Congress in 1990, would not have worked if it had been tasked with either closing unnecessary bases or raising taxes to pay for unnecessary bases. It worked precisely because it had one job: to save taxpayer money by closing unnecessary bases, and that is the model we should follow now.

As you craft such a BRAC-style spending-only commission, we urge you to listen to the American people, who earlier this week spoke loud and clear in the Massachusetts special election for the U.S. Senate. Scott Brown’s victory was more than a referendum on healthcare, it was a national referendum on the direction of our country. American taxpayers demand less spending, and greater transparency in the way Congress operates.  Consequently, a BRAC-style spending-only commission should be designed to hold its deliberations not behind closed doors, but under the watchful eye of the American people.