Daniels to Collect Fiscal Restraint Award

Daniels to Collect Fiscal Restraint Award

By Erin McPike - December 17, 2010

Indiana Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels will return to Washington, D.C., next month to collect an award that recognizes his leadership in fiscal discipline.

A nonpartisan trio including David Walker of the Comeback America Initiative, Maya MacGuineas of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and Robert Bixby of the Concord Coalition selected three elected officials to receive the first "Fiscy awards." Daniels, Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and North Dakota Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad will be rewarded for their displays of fiscal restraint in 2010.

In an interview on Thursday, Walker, a former United States Comptroller General, explained that the new award was created to credit public officials who have taken action on fiscal issues, and to push more elected officials to do the same.

"We need to move from rhetoric to results" on cutting the deficit, Walker said. "And in order to move from rhetoric to results, you need to have leadership."

The three recipients will collect their awards at the Newseum on Wednesday, Jan. 5, when they will participate in an evening panel discussion. Proceeds for the event will go back into the three organizations, which promote fiscal discipline.

Walker noted that one of the criteria for getting the award was that contenders must be present at the awards presentation next year.

He also laid out the reasons why each of the three recipients were chosen.

Daniels, he said, has balanced the budget in Indiana and has taken steps to reduce the size of the government and make it more efficient. He privatized slices of it to bring more revenue to the state.

"Indiana is in better shape and fiscal position than they were in the past," Walker said.

Ryan was picked largely because he offered the "Roadmap for America's Future," a controversial plan that lays out a set of fiscal priorities.

"It is by no means perfect, and we are not necessarily endorsing it," Walker said. "But he had the courage to offer a specific plan that offers a dramatic change to current government programs."

Conrad's efforts as chairman of the Senate Budget Committee to offer plans that would cut the deficit significantly failed, but they were noticed by the Fiscy Awards Committee.

Conrad will be up for re-election in 2012, Ryan could explore a Senate bid, and Daniels may seek the White House, so the trio is under heightened political scrutiny.

Walker noted that the committee is comprised of political independents and that they wanted to recognize officials regardless of party affiliation. He pointed out that none of the three politicians receiving the awards have yet announced campaigns for higher office, but he suggested that their current visibility and accomplishments will further the committee's goals of improving fiscal restraint.

Daniels is the most closely watched of the three, and his appearance in the Beltway in several weeks likely will cause a stir as his potential presidential aspirations come into sharper focus.

The governor said on Wednesday that he may decide whether to run for president before the Indiana legislative session ends at the close of April.

He will collect more intelligence on the pros and cons of a bid when he makes his trip to Washington next month. A spokeswoman for the governor said there are not specific plans yet for the excursion.

Erin McPike is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ErinMcPike.

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