Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform

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The Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform met from January 2009 to December 2011. It was a collaboration of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and the CRFB.

In December 2009, the commission issued a report titled "Red Ink Rising: A Call to Action to Stem the Mounting Federal Debt."[1]

Then in November 2010, the commission issued a follow-up report titled "Getting Back in the Black."[2]

"Getting Back in the Black": Final Report, November 2010

Among other recommendations, the Peterson-Pew Commission's final report in November 2010 included the following:

"The Commission supports enacting budget limits that would be automatically enforced through broad spending cuts and tax increases—if policy makers fail to make necessary legislative changes. Specifically, the Commission recommends that Congress and the President:
  • "Adopt medium-term, long-term and annual limits on the amount the government can borrow as a share of national income. The targets are intended to commit the government in advance to a path of borrowing consistent with economic stability;
  • "Establish multi-year annual caps for spending and tax expenditures that are consistent with the enacted debt targets;
  • "Create automatic triggers to keep budget plans on track and control the major drivers of the growing debt; and
  • "Improve the timeliness, completeness and transparency of information used in the budget process to better inform policy makers and increase their accountability for all budget decisions."[3]

Peterson-Pew Commission Members


  • Bill Frenzel, former Republican congressman from Minnesota.
  • Jim Nussle, former Republican congressman from Iowa and Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush.
  • Timothy Penny, former Democratic congressman from Minnesota.
  • Charlie Stenholm, former Democratic congressman from Texas.




Senior Advisors

  • Robert Strauss, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee from, chairman of President Carter's election campaigns, special trade representative under President Carter, and President Carter's personal representative to the Middle East Peace Negotiations. He later served as U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union.[4]


  1. Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform, Red Ink Rising, commission report, December 2009.
  2. Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform, Getting Back in the Black, commission report, November 2010.
  3. Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform, Getting Back in the Black, commission report summary, November 10, 2010.
  4. Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform, About Us, commission website, accessed July 4, 2013.