They need 14 of the 18 members to vote yes tomorrow to send the Bowles/Simpson plan to Congress. Ain’t happening. Guess who provided unlucky no vote number five.
ABC News has learned Andrew Stern will vote no on the deficit commission’s plan to reduce the national deficit by nearly $4 trillion. Mr. Stern, the former president of the SEIU, has informed co-chairmen Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson that he will be the fifth member voting no, ending the commission’s hopes of officially passing the plan to Congress. The commission needed votes from 14 of the 18 members in order to pass the plan to Congress.
Mr. Stern joins Sen. Max Baucus and Reps. Dave Camp, Paul Ryan and Jan Schakowsky in voting against the plan. He is also the only non-elected official to vote against the plan.
At Wednesday’s deficit commission meeting, Mr. Stern voiced concerns with the plan’s approach to addressing the tax system, health care, and future investments.
Two clips for you here, both of beloved conservative deficit hawks. First comes Ryan justifying his no vote on grounds that, for all the virtues of Bowles/Simpson in other respects, the proposal simply doesn’t do enough to starve the beast that is ObamaCare. You can watch him elaborate on that in this clip at RCP; he hints that he’ll soon be offering his own health-care plan in tandem with Alice Rivlin, who recently co-authored a debt reduction package of her own with Peter Domenici. The second clip is Tom Coburn’s speech to the Deficit Commission yesterday, which I highly recommend watching. It’s a superb pithy summary of the gravity of America’s financial situation. Coburn’s voting yes on the plan notwithstanding his own misgivings about some of the provisions because, in an age of sacrifice, legislators should be willing to sacrifice too in order to advance the ball. That’s also where I come down on this: No one believes Congress will approve Bowles/Simpson if forced to vote on it, but let’s force ’em anyway simply because it’ll keep this issue front and center in public debate. Frankly, I’m surprised that Ryan, who’s struggled to get the GOP leadership to support his roadmap, would pass up the opportunity to push big-picture legislation on fiscal solvency into the House and Senate. The more comfortable legislators and citizens are facing this subject, the easier it is for the roadmap to get traction. Too bad.