Entries in Deficit Commission (5)


Deficit Commission Chairs Call for Deficit Negotiations in January

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In a statement released Thursday, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, co-chairmen of the president’s deficit commission, urged the president to initiate negotiations with congressional leaders about creating a national deficit reduction plan upon their return in January. 

Bowles and Simpson met with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Office of Management and Budget director Jack Lew Thursday morning at the White House and released a statement in conjunction with the meeting.
In the statement, Bowles and Simpson expressed the need for bipartisan negotiations to establish “a serious fiscal responsibility plan to strengthen our economy for the long term.” 

They also encouraged President Obama to use the ideas contained in the commission’s plan unveiled last week as a starting point to develop his own deficit reduction plan.

"We urge the President to build on these bipartisan ideas by putting forward his own plan in his State of the Union address and budget.  We further call on him to bring key congressional leaders together with administration officials to negotiate and reach conclusion on a specific deficit reduction agreement that would be enacted," Bowles and Simpson said in the joint statement.

The co-chairmen concluded emphasizing the importance of working together across the aisle.

"Neither party can fix this problem on its own, and both parties have a responsibility to do their part.  Americans are counting on us to put politics aside, pull together not pull apart, and agree on a plan to live within our means and make America strong for the long haul."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Kent Conrad: Time for White House Deficit 'Summit'

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- While President Obama's deficit commission didn't gather enough votes to coalesce behind an "official" proposal that would move on to a vote in Congress, members of the commission are declaring the exercise successful -- and calling on the president himself to take ownership of the issues being raised.

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., a member of the commission who voted to endorse the recommendations, called it a "measured success," with 11 of the 18 members of the commission voting "yes." The next steps, he told ABC News, will depend in large part on the president.

"I think really that's where it needs to go next. We need to have a summit that involves the White House, the leadership of the House and the Senate, Democrats and Republicans," said Conrad, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.

"I expect their participation," he added. "That's what needs to happen next. I don’t think there's any member of this commission that didn't realize at the end of the process that something significant has to be done. We are on an utterly unsustainable course."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


$4 Trillion Deficit Reduction Plan a No-Go

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Despite receiving a majority endorsement, the president's deficit commission failed to obtain the 14 vote supermajority needed to pass its $4 trillion deficit reduction proposal as the "official" plan of the commission to Congress.  Only 11 commission members voted in support of the plan.

Just three Republican senators -- Tom Coburn, Mike Crapo and Judd Gregg -- voted for the plan. They were joined by Democratic Sens. Kent Conrad and Richard Durbin, as well as outgoing Democratic Rep. John Spratt and five non-elected members of the deficit commission: Erskine Bowles,  Alan Simpson, David Cote, Ann Fudge, and Alice Rivlin.

But indicating a divide among Congressional Republicans on how to deal with the deficit, all three House Republicans on the panel -- Reps. David Camp, Jeb Hensarling, and Paul Ryan -- shot down the plan. They were joined by Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, Democratic Reps. Xavier Becerra, and Jan Schakowsky, as well as former labor leader Andrew Stern.

Led by former Clinton chief of staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Senator Alan Simpson, the commission's proposal presented bold initiatives, from raising the eligibility age of Social Security to 69 to increasing the gas tax by 15 cents a gallon, drawing sharp criticism from the public.  

What's next? While not officially moving to Congress, committees could incorporate portions of the plan into the budget process this spring, and some commission members believe more plans should be brought to the table, including a plan from the president.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Nail in the Coffin: Stern to Vote 'No' On Deficit Commission Plan

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- ABC News has learned Andrew Stern will vote "no" on the deficit commission’s plan to reduce the national deficit by nearly $4 trillion. Mr. Stern, the former president of Service Employees International Union (SEIU), has informed co-chairmen Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson that he will be the fifth member voting no, ending the commission’s hopes of officially passing the plan to Congress. The commission needed votes from 14 of the 18 members in order to pass the plan to Congress.

Mr. Stern joins Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Reps. Dave Camp, R-Mich., Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., in voting against the plan.  He is also the only non-elected official to vote against the plan.

At Wednesday’s deficit commission meeting, Mr. Stern voiced concerns with the plan’s approach to addressing the tax system, health care, and future investments.

“I think the problem in Washington, too often, is that we're historians and not futurists.  And unfortunately, as I said in the first meeting, we are at a very  different moment of economic history,” Mr. Stern said in Wednesday’s meeting.  “We are now witnessing what a global economy is and having to act in ways that  we're not familiar with in our country to make strong, swift, decisive and fast decisions.”                       

“There is no reason, I think, as Congressman Hensarling said, that the president of the United States,  the leaders of the House and the Senate cannot put a plan on the floor of their bodies this year.  And we should keep voting and debating and amending until we have a plan, because it can't wait any longer.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Deficit Commission Postpones Vote to Friday

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama’s deficit commission will present its final deficit reduction plan Wednesday morning, but the vote, which was initially slated for Dec. 1, is now pushed to Friday.

“We just finished the plan.  We’re putting the final touches on it now, and we’ll get it out later today or early tonight,” co-chair Erskine Bowles said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.  “I don’t think it’s fair, nor does Al, to not give people a chance to review it before they’re asked to vote.”

It is not expected that this will be addressed legislatively before the end of the lame-duck session of Congress.

Co-chairmen Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson did not offer specific details regarding the changes to the plan but insisted the plan is “stronger” and “better” than the chairmen’s proposal presented earlier this month.

“The plan we submit tomorrow,” Bowles said, “It’s not going to be some watered down version of the chairman’s mark.  That I can guarantee you.  We have met with and listened to every single member of this commission, and we think they have made this plan stronger.”

Regarding one of the contentious issues in the plan -- Social Security -- the chairmen maintained they “are not balancing the books of America on the backs of poor social security recipients” and have developed a plan to protect the lower income bracket.

But heading into Wednesday’s meeting, the chairmen expect sharp criticism from both sides of the aisle regarding the plan.

“They’re going to rip this thing to shreds and do it with zeal,” Simpson said.  “There are plenty of zealots out here.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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