What’s the difference, you ask, between this and the Bowles/Simpson Deficit Commission whose plan went nowhere last year? I … don’t know. The members are different, for one thing. Plus, the Deficit Commission was designed to let Obama avoid leadership on the debt crisis during his first two years in office. The deficit “working group” is really more designed to let Obama avoid leadership on the debt crisis during his second two years in office. So, there’s a difference.
No one, Congress included, is taking this charade seriously anymore.
Obama asked [congressional] leaders this week to name 16 lawmakers – four per caucus – to begin bipartisan negotiations in May led by Vice President Joe Biden, but not all of them agreed.
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) named only two senators, while Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) appears to have settled on only one. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is also expected to pick fewer than four representatives. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has not said how many she will appoint…
“Listen, we’ve had commissions around here and we’ve had commissions,” Boehner said Friday when asked if he’d make appointments. “Nobody has ever paid much attention. And clearly, the president didn’t pay any attention to his own deficit reduction commission. The conversations are going to continue. We’ll know more in the future.”…
“I don’t understand why it was proposed, first of all getting 16 people or 18 in the room to do all this, yet when we already have a fiscal commission report and House and Senate talks underway, doesn’t make a lot of sense to me,” Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), a Gang of Six negotiator, told POLITICO.
Reid’s two appointees, according to Politico, are porkmonger Daniel Inouye and Deficit Commission member Max Baucus, who voted no on the Bowles/Simpson plan. Not included in the working group are any members of the “Gang of Six,” whom Reid wants to keep on a separate track since, unlike this group, there’s at least a chance that they’ll come up with something. Ace asked a good question yesterday: At this point, what “new” information does Obama expect to glean from an additional commission? The choices have been clear for 25 years — new taxes, entitlement reform, or (inevitably) some combination thereof. If he’s unwilling to tackle Medicare spending, then it’s time for him to be the Pericles that the media assures us he is and convince the middle class that they need a significant tax hike. If, as he said the other day, he’s all about the burden being shared equally, I’m sure they’ll understand and won’t punish the Democrats at all. Time to be that super-liberal warrior whom the left was so excited to glimpse a few days ago. “Tax hikes for a fairer America”: That sounds like a campaign slogan to me.
Speaking of which, via CNS, here’s Pelosi trying to lead a half-hearted cheer on the Hill today and inadvertently reminding everyone why she’s no longer Speaker.