Maj. Gen. Arnold Punaro, USMC retired, Punaro Group

The 114th Congress convenes next week, and the budget moves they should make early on are clear to a number of defense experts. One of them is retired U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Arnold Punaro, the chief executive officer of the Punaro Group. In his Top 3 for 2015, he tells In Depth with Francis Rose why dealing with the sequester, the debt and the deficit should be the top priority.

Maj. Gen. Arnold Punaro’s Top 3 for 2015

  1. Will Congress and the Executive Branch address the nation’s long-term fiscal challenges in terms of a grand compromise on entitlements, discretionary spending and revenues?
    • The inability of the two branches to reach agreement is what triggered the sequester in the first place.
    • Three years of sequester have done absolutely nothing to change the trajectory, and our national debt is expected to go up by trillions of dollars more.
    • Talk is cheap when it comes to complaining about whether a universal agreement is an unsustainable course.
  2. On issues of national importance, will the two branches approach the power shifts with a spirit of cooperation or continued confrontation?
    • Neither side has the “leverage” on the other they think.
    • A Republican Congress is not going to default on the debt.
    • A Democratic President can’t “veto” his priorities into a bill.
    • The tension between compromise and confrontation will change depending on the issues.
  3. Will the new leadership in the Congress really bring back “regular” order? That means passing a budget resolution that sets the targets for spending in a timely fashion and marking up and passing the appropriation bills on time prior to the beginning of the fiscal year.
    • Will these processes be used to make points or to pass laws?
    • Will the new majorities in Congress put pressure on government workers and government contractors?
    • Will the presidential campaigns complicate and impact the legislative agenda in 2015?

In our special radio report, Top 3 for 2015, federal experts tell In Depth host Francis Rose what top three concepts, trends or priorities they believe will be important in 2015.