Democrat Shalala, Republican Sayfie join bipartisan call to fix debtby George Bennett | January 17th, 2013
University of Miami President Donna Shalala, a Democrat who was secretary of Health and Human Services under former President Bill Clinton, and attorney Justin Sayfie, a Republican who was a speechwriter and spokesman for former Gov. Jeb Bush, made a bipartisan appeal today to fix the nation’s deficits and debt.
Shalala and Sayfie are members of the Florida steering committee for the national nonpartisan group Fix The Debt, which says Congress and the White House should come up with a long-term plan to stabilize and gradually reduce the $16.4 trillion national debt.
Shalala and Sayfie offered few specifics today, though Shalala said “I think in the end we’re going to have to eliminate some programs.” She also mentioned finding a way to reduce health care costs and said a solution could include tort reform, which many of her fellow Democrats oppose.
Sayfie said the November elections that gave President Barack Obama a second term and kept Democrats in control of the Senate and Republicans in control of the House gives each political capital to strike “as big a negotiated deal as possible.” Sayfie said it will take a grand bargain to get Democrats to budge on entitlement reform and Republicans to move on revenue increases.
The national Fix The Debt group says a long-term budget plan “must be bipartisan and reforms to all areas of the budget should be included.”
According to the group, the plan should: “Reform Medicare and Medicaid, improve efficiency in the overall health care system, and limit future cost growth;
“Strengthen Social Security, so that it is solvent and will be there for future beneficiaries; and
“Include comprehensive and pro-growth tax reform, which broadens the base, lowers rates, raises revenues, and reduces the deficit.”