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Simpson, Bowles: Barrow is 'brave'
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Our nation needs to get its fiscal house in order, and to do so citizens must fully demand leaders who are willing to put partisan differences aside and come together to present the American people with honest solutions and consensus proposals that put the national interest ahead of special interests. That is why we were so disheartened to learn that John Barrow is being criticized for his support of a budget based on the plan recommended in 2010 by a bipartisan majority of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform which we co-chaired (Simpson-Bowles Commission).

The Simpson-Bowles plan is a comprehensive, tough-minded and pragmatic approach to attacking our national debt and ensuring that Social Security is fiscally sound for future generations.

Because it seeks to tackle the hard problems, it came under savage attack from partisan interests from both ends of the spectrum.

We need Members of Congress who have the guts to ignore these scare tactics and look at the substance of real solutions that will help get our great nation back on track.

Addressing the big problems facing our nation such as our national debt and fiscal soundness of Social Security will require our leaders to move beyond rigid ideological positions in order to work toward bipartisan solutions. By supporting a bipartisan budget based on the framework of Simpson-Bowles, John Barrow demonstrated he has the courage to take that approach to issues before Congress.

We have never claimed our plan is perfect, and we do not expect anyone, including John Barrow, to agree with every single aspect of our proposal, but we continue to believe it provides the necessary framework for bringing our mounting debt under control instead of continuing the trend of inaction and allowing pressing legislation to simply gather dust in Washington.

It is also worth noting that the Simpson-Bowles Commission report was supported by a bipartisan supermajority of 11 of the 18 members of the commission, receiving the votes of five Democrats, five Republicans and one Independent, including Republican fiscal hawk Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. In the ability to compromise an issue without compromising themselves we saw the work of the Fiscal Commission serve as an example of what Congress must do to address our national debt.

Congress' inability to make important compromises is truly threatening the state of our nation.

As the two of us travel the country, we find that the vast majority of our fellow citizens understand the grave threat posed by the mounting national debt and are thirsting for political leaders to demonstrate the guts, integrity and common sense needed to make the hard, tough choices so necessary to rein in the dangerous national debt.

John Barrow has demonstrated that he is willing to put partisanship aside and step forward to make those tough decisions our nation needs.

He is a brave leader who deserves the thanks of everyone who really cares about our nation's future.

Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson served as co-chairman of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.