The proposal by Senators Conrad and Gregg to establish a congressional commission to recommend reductions in the federal deficit has failed to pass in the Senate. It need 60 votes but received only 53, with 46 against. 37 Democrats and 16 Republicans voted in favor of the proposal.
Republican opposition appears to have been based mostly on the fear that, in addition to calling for specific spending cuts, the commission could have recommended revenue-increasing strategies such as higher taxes. As Senator McCain explained “I want a spending commission, [but] I worry that this commission could have gotten together and agreed to increase taxes.”
I understand that Minority Leader McConnell will now propose an amendment to establish a commission whose recommendations would be limited to spending cuts. It’s difficult to see the Senate agreeing to this sort of commission either, but at least many Republicans now will be able to support specific legislation aimed at deficiit reduction.
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