The Budget, the Deficit and Politics
Senator Kent Conrad has played a vital role in shaping our nation’s fiscal policies over the last three decades, and he takes his hands-on knowledge and translates it for the business world. Conrad uses a duel-wielded approach to the issue of fiscal policy, looking at the facts on the ground from both an economic and political standpoint. He evaluates the current fiscal situation and addresses the economic ramifications of various scenarios, particularly focusing on spending cuts, entitlement spending, and taxes. Then, he discusses what we can expect politically from these issues and dissects the parties that would be impacted by potential legislation. While budgetary numbers are often incomprehensibly large, Conrad uses charts and graphs to put the numbers and our current economic standing in clear perspective. His presentations are a glimpse into the mind of the man who was the Congress’s go-to budget expert.
Senator Conrad looks at our nation’s energy policy and the future of energy in our country. Having sat on two energy committees in the Senate, he believes that within 20-30 years, the U.S. will become energy independent, which has many geopolitical effects. We will be able to export natural gas, resulting in billions of dollars for the country, instead of spending that same money importing oil. But how does that change our relationships with countries and strategic partners around the world? What are the ramifications of energy independence, both environmentally and geopolitically?
The Affordable Care Act
A key author of the Affordable Care Act, Senator Conrad was a part of the Finance Committee’s Group of Six (three Democrats, three Republicans) that created the foundation of the Senate’s healthcare reform bill. He knows the bill like no one else, and with this expertise, he discusses the ins and outs of the ACA and how it affects people’s lives and businesses – looking at both the economic and fiscal policy questions and its political ramifications, as factions in Congress still battle the bill.
As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Kent Conrad has unique expertise centered on geopolitics and cyber security. He discusses our country’s strengths and shortcomings on the subject and the steps we should all take to avoid a cyber attack.
As the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) earned bipartisan respect as an expert on the nation’s fiscal issues. Selected by TIME as one of “America’s 10 Best Senators” and rated by The American as one of the 10 most economically knowledgeable members of Congress, he has played a vital role in shaping our nation’s fiscal policies during the last three decades. He was the “father” of the Simpson Bowles Commission and a key author of the Affordable Care Act, and he is currently a part of the Campaign to Fix the Debt. In his speeches, Conrad addresses fiscal policy, the economy, energy, and healthcare.
In presentations, he takes his hands-on fiscal knowledge and translates it for the business world, looking at the facts on the ground from economic and political standpoints. His speeches address the ramifications of issues like spending cuts, entitlements, and taxes, and he dissects the politics surrounding the issues and the groups that would be affected by potential legislation. Using charts and graphs, Conrad puts our current economic standing in clear persepective. His presentations are a glimpse into the mind of the man who was Congress's "go-to-guy." He speaks with passion and authority, sharing hard-hitting, detailed insights about the real financial issues facing our nation.
In addition to being the Budget Committee chairman, Conrad was a member of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and a strong proponent of the Simpson-Bowles plan. According to The Washington Post, “Conrad almost single-handedly forced President Obama to create the commission known as Bowles-Simpson, which produced a debt-reduction plan now hailed as a model of bipartisan compromise on taxes and government spending.” Since its release, that plan has become the standard against which all other proposals are measured.
A self-described “deficit hawk” Conrad also served on both so-called “Gangs of Six,” – the two different bipartisan groups that proposed a solution to the debt ceiling crisis in 2011, negotiating a $4 trillion debt-reduction package, and a compromise over the 2009 healthcare reform bill. Of Conrad, Paul Ryan said, “There’s no Democrat who knows the budget like he does.” Conrad also held several key positions on the Committee on Finance; served as chairman of the Subcommittee on Taxation, IRS Oversight, and Long-Term Growth; and was a member of the Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth.
No stranger to energy issues, Conrad also held a position on the Committee of Agriculture's Subcommittee on Energy, Science and Technology and the Committee of Finance's Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources and Infrastructure. He was co-chairman of the "Gang of 10," comprised of five Democrats and five Republicans that produced a plan to move America toward energy independence. He also served on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Before serving in Congress, Conrad worked as an assistant to the North Dakota State Tax Commissioner, Byron Dorgan, who later became his colleague in the the Senate. Conrad succeeeded Dorgan as tax commissioner, a position he held until he successfully ran for the Senate in 1986.