Support erodes for deficit panel plan

December 3, 2010

By Seth McLaughlin-The Washington Times

Six members of President Obama‘s deficit commission are expected to vote on Friday against its final report, meaning the panel will not be able to submit any recommendations to Congress for action.

Late Thursday, Sen. Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, announced his opposition, joining one House Democrat, three House Republicans and one of Mr. Obama‘s appointees, who also are expected to vote against it, leaving the 18-member panel short of the 14 votes Mr. Obama said would be needed to adopt a final report. Also late Thursday, Andrew Stern, the former president of the Service Employees International Union, announced his opposition.

Still, a majority is expected to back the blueprint laid out by the panels co-chairmen, former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowlesand former GOPSen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming, to gain control of the country’s finances by imposing unpopular spending cuts and doing away with popular tax breaks.

“We’re at a day of reckoning,” said Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican and commission member, earlier Thursday as he announced his support, along with Sen. Michael D. Crapo, Idaho Republican. “The time for action is now. The threat is real. It’s urgent. We cannot wait for another election. We cannot wait until we get more of what we want.”

As of late Thursday, five of Mr. Obama‘s six appointees to the commission said they’ll back the final recommendations, as have five senators.

Four House lawmakers are expected to oppose the plan, as well as Mr. Baucus. And ABC reported Thursday night that Mr. Obama‘s sixth appointee, Mr. Stern, the former SEIU chief, was expected to oppose the plan.

That leaves two House Democrats as the undecided members, and leaves the commission short of the needed supermajority.

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