…then how’s the commission ever going to agree on the revenue increases and spending cuts? The Washington Post’s Lori Montgomery reports:
Key senators in both parties are resisting President Obama’s bid to create a bipartisan commission to rein in soaring budget deficits, saying the White House has failed to deliver clear assurances that a presidentially appointed panel would have the power to force a deficit-reduction plan through Congress.
Vice President Biden, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and White House budget director Peter Orszag went to the Capitol on Thursday to try to sell the idea to a group of moderate Democrats, who are threatening to block efforts to significantly raise the nation’s debt limit if there is no plan to restrain future spending.
Far from signing on, however, the group pressed White House officials to endorse a competing proposal to create a budget commission by law, with explicit provisions to put its recommendations to a vote in the House and Senate before the end of this year…
Meanwhile, key Republicans said they would not serve on a presidentially appointed commission, arguing that the panel would do little more than provide political cover for Democrats trying to show voters they are taking action on the deficit in the run-up to this fall’s congressional elections. They, too, urged Obama to back a statutory commission, calling it the only hope for truly bipartisan cooperation on the nation’s dire budget problems…
I still don’t understand why those in Congress who truly want to achieve fiscal sustainability would oppose this commission just because it’s not as strong as a statutory commission, which they can’t pass in Congress anyway. In helping policymakers and the American public confront the tough choices, any fiscal commission is better than none–as long as we don’t have to deficit finance the commission itself.
Are some members of Congress perhaps not as prepared to get to the tough (and specific) policy choices as they claim to be when talking only in vague terms about the very general merits of a fiscal commission? Is their resistance to the presidentially-appointed commission a stalling and/or distancing tactic?