Obama's Bipartisan Debt Commission Fails to Get the Votes

Obama's Bipartisan Debt Commission Fails to Get the VotesFighting the federal deficit will have to wait for another day, but that day may come soon.

The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform voted on whether to approve its own report and recommendations Friday, but it failed to get the 14 votes from its members required to send its proposal to Congress, according to media reports. The 59-page program of recommendations to slash the deficit by $4 billion over 10 years had something in it to offend everyone, including drastic spending cuts and tax hikes. Former Reagan administration Budget Director David Stockman, who has been critical of current fiscal policy, writes on Minyanville that the plan was "nearly incomprehensible beltway mumbo jumbo and gimmicks."

The proposal, though, may not be dead. Members of the commission say they're optimistic that Congress will take action on the recommendations in spite of the vote. NBC News quotes former Sen. Alan Simpson, the Republican co-chair of the bipartisan commission, as saying, "I will walk home proudly, with my head held high."

Supporters of the Tea Party have made tackling the deficit, which tops $1 trillion, one of their top priorities. Liberal groups such as MoveOn.Org are pressuring Obama not to be too accommodating to Republicans, who won control of the House of Representatives during November's midterm elections.

"The people are ahead of the politicians," says Dave Walker, the CEO of the Comeback America Coalition and former U.S. comptroller general, in an interview. "They have adjusted their own personal behavior. . .They know the U.S. [government] is not exempt from the laws of prudent finance."

Interest on U.S. Debt Could Hit $1 Trillion by 2020

The commission's failure to get enough internal support to send the report to Congress shouldn't overshadow the fact that bipartisan support is growing for reining in government spending. Six of the 12 lawmakers on the commission voted in favor of its findings, including conservative Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and moderate Sens. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Kent Conrad (D-S.D.). Walker also notes that the recommendations wouldn't have been put up for a vote during the lame duck session of Congress, even if the report had received enough votes from commission members.

What's needed now is the political will to tackle spending, something which both sides have lacked for decades.

President Obama asked the commission to come up with ways to slash the federal budget deficit from the 8.9% of GDP it stood at in fiscal 2010, which ended on Sept. 30, to 3% of GDP. If left unchecked, interest on the debt could reach $1 trillion by 2020, as increasing numbers of baby boomers begin tapping Social Security. Public debt could equal as much as 135% of GDP by 2035.

Government officials on Friday also reported that the November unemployment rate rose to 9.8%, disappointing investors and sending the stock market lower. And the debate continues in Washington about extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, which Stockman and others argue the U.S. cannot afford, because they would add $700 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years.

Congress also continues to debate extending unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless, which would also add to the country's debt. Another extension effort failed Thursday in the U.S. Senate. About the only thing that everyone agrees on is that the current U.S. fiscal path is unsustainable.

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47% did not pay any federal income tax in 09, chop it off. It's time everybody pays.

December 05 2010 at 12:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The People voted in November to clean the "swamp". Nasty Nancy still cannot see the light.

December 04 2010 at 7:46 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

How many strikes now will Barry take...WE THE PEOPLE want his Cabinet castrated.

December 04 2010 at 7:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

FOOLS!- - - WE ALL are going to pay and pay BIG!- - - It isn't about Demos or Repubs, it IS about TRILLIONS of Fake FIat $$$$$ bloating our society!- - - Scream as loud as you want about your little piece of the pie- - - We all will eventually pay and we will all PAY BIG!

December 04 2010 at 3:50 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Enough with this nonsense, we all know what needs to be cut. Welfare, Earmarks Social Security only make up 8% of the budget. The military/defense budget makes up over 60% of the budget. If Republicans are serious about controlling debt, they need to stop crying about a possible 6% increase in health costs from "ObamaCare" and cut the defense budget which is OUT OF CONTROL!!!!

December 04 2010 at 11:10 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to boucherfan3333's comment

Huh? The Department of Defense comprises 18.7% of the total budget. Socialist Insecurity is the biggest single budget item. I didn't think it possible anybody could be so ill-informed until you spoke up.

December 05 2010 at 10:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

@bggdg... More lies. Please read what what one says before you make a fool out of yourself. I said the Military/Defense budget... this is NOT just the department of defense, this is also the pentagon and the wars in Irag and Afghanistan. Together, this chunk is over 60% of the budget. You hate Democrats, fine, but if you want to cut spending, stop crying about small fish such as ObamaCare and Welfare and cut the Pentagon's budget in half. Removing ObamaCare and Welfare 100% will not cover the deficit, this is something many fail to see. We do not need the F-35 or a missile shield in post-cold war era. Cut these programs. We do not need to subsidize oil, let Americans know what the real price per gallon is. I am a Conservative and it is time we stop bickering about the color of the dinner plate and start cutting the fat on the steak.

December 05 2010 at 9:12 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Maybe the most illuminating aspect of this report is how Republicans came to be generally more supportive of a report issued by a commision established by Obama than has Obama's own party.

December 04 2010 at 8:59 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Robert & Lisa

With George Soros and his puppets, the Obama and thugs Demoncrats, we don't stand a chance. They want to collapse our government to take it communist.

December 03 2010 at 7:40 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

Barry and Bi-partisan are oxy-morons. 1.2 million Fed employees when Dubya left office...1.43 million now. 20% increase of Fed employees mainly hired to watch YOU. How's that "Hoax and Chains" working for U?

December 03 2010 at 6:50 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply


December 03 2010 at 6:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Agreement? "About the only thing that everyone agrees on is that the current U.S. fiscal path is unsustainable". This is a very good starting point, now that the problem is found, a solution can be found. Every one will have to give up something be it tax cuts, some benefits, new war planes, obscene corporate profits. Just be willing to bend a little.

December 03 2010 at 4:06 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tallbussys's comment

Quote from Marco Rubio R-FL (newly elected Tea Party darling) in reference to a shorter back to school shopping tax holiday: "They'll just have less time to buy the same amount of stuff" refering to back to school shoppers "That's not a tax increase". Apply this same logic to the Bush tax cuts, does it apply?

December 03 2010 at 4:13 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply