That Deficit Commission will be voting this week so let’s review who those 18 members are who will be recommending ways to reduce our national debt. We certainly know the co-chairs, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson. Bowles was supposed to be representing the Democratic point of view and Simpson, of course, the Republican.
Here is the group: [Here]
1. Erskine Bowles: Co-Chair (Democrat)
2. Alan Simpson: Co-Chair (Republican)
Members appointed by President Obama:
3. David Cote: a Republican. Honeywell, International Chairman and CEO. Supposedly brings a business viewpoint to Obama’s appointees.
4. Alice Rivlin: ex-Fed. Reserve vice chair. Director, Office of Management and Budget under Clinton. Senior fellow at the Brookings Institute.
5. Ann Fudge: was Ch. of Young and Rubicam.
6. Andrew Stern: Pres. SEIU (union head)
Members named by Majority Leader Harry Reid:
7. Senator Richard Durban: liberal Democrat. Illinois. Majority Whip
8. Senator Kent Conrad: conservative Democrat. N. Dak. Senate Budget Com. Ch.
9. Senator Max Baucus: conservative Democrat. Montana. Senate Finance Com. Ch.
Members named by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
10. Senator Judd Gregg: conservative Republican. New Hampshire. Budget Com.
11. Senator Tom Coburn: conservative Republican, Oklahoma.
12. Senator Mike Crapo: conservative Republican, Idaho. Banking Com.
Members named by Speaker Nancy Pelosi
13. Representative John Spratt: moderate Democrat, S. Car., ch. House Budget Com.
14. Representative Xavier Becerra: liberal Democrat, Cal., vice-ch. House Democratic Caucus
15. Representative Jan Schakowsky: liberal Democrat, Ill., member Energy and Commerce Com.
Members named by Republican House Leader John Boehner
16. Representative Paul Ryan: conservative Republican, Wisc., ranking member of Budget Com.
17. Representative Jeb Hensarling, conservative Republican, Texas, member Budget Com.
18. Representative Dave Camp, conservative Republican, House Ways and Means Com.
And there you have it.
The Commission was scheduled to hold a public meeting on Tuesday, November 30th, prior to the release of its final recommendations. However, the meeting was suddenly cancelled. According to a report sent around by Truthout, [Here] Bowles and Simpson have been distributing to some selected members a tweaked version of the set of recommendations that they made public some weeks ago.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky reported that as of early Tuesday morning she had not seen the latest proposals, although she has been an active member of the commission. Schakowsky has already made a series of proposals which would reduce the deficit by cutting deeply into the military budget, but would leave Social Security and other “social needs” programs untouched.
Schakowsky, often called the most liberal member of the House, said that she believed Bowles and Simpson are aiming now to have a total of 10 members agree to their proposals, instead of the mandated “super majority” of 14 which was the original target. According to the original plan, if the Commission met the original goal of 14, the proposals would go directly to Congress for an immediate “up or down” vote. It now looks as if that will not be happening.
As you probably also know, today is National Call Congress Day, a progressive drive to urge citizens to call their Congressional Representatives to vote to preserve Social Security. All of this is important background noise for the commissioners to hear as they make their decisions about how to vote on the final recommendations.
I just went through the list of commissioners and I bet I can guess who the 10 members are who agree with Bowles and Simpson and who do not.
Join me. It's a fine guessing game...