President’s Proposal for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction

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September 19, 2011 · by Wes · Spark Notes

Today (9/19/11), the President released a proposal for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. It is available online:

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http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2012/assets/jointcommitteereport.pdf

Although the document offers many details, one element that is missing is the President’s plans for creating savings in the higher education programs. In the report’s introduction to its section on mandatory budgetary savings (p. 17), it includes the following line, “This list does not include mandatory savings in higher education programs, because savings from these types of programs should be directed back into helping America’s students enter and finish college,” meaning the President may still put some of his proposals, including the “modernization” of the Perkins Loan Program, “on the table” for these negotiations.

The plan also includes multiple provisions related to better collection of government-owned debts, including the following:

Allow agencies to contact delinquent debtors via their cellular phones. The Administration also proposes to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to facilitate collection of debts owed to or guaranteed by the Federal Government, by facilitating contact of delinquent debtors who are most readily reached on their cell phones. This provision is expected to provide substantial increases in collections, particularly as an increasing share of households no longer have landlines and rely instead on cell phones.

 We are optimistic this provision will provide momentum for efforts to modernize collection related regulation and legislation, including the current effort to modify the TCPA. The debt-collection elements of the President’s plan, which also include further use of offset programs, are on page 27-28 of the proposal.

Prepared by:
Wes Huffman (whuffman@wpllc.net)