Deficit Commission Moves the Goalpost, Disses Leading Progressive Member

Deficit Commission Moves the Goalpost, Disses Leading Progressive Member

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., says that as of this morning she had not been shown the latest proposal of the White House deficit commission, even as she says it is being “shopped around” by its co-chairs in an effort to get the support of a simple majority of its 18 members—not the support of 14 members as was its original goal.

Schakowsky confirmed this shift in an interview with after giving a private briefing to members of the Tuesday Group, a meeting of progressive organization leaders convened by the Campaign for America’s Future.

The deficit commission—formally known as the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform—was scheduled to hold a public meeting today in advance of its planned release of its recommendations Wednesday, but the meeting was abruptly canceled. Instead, its co-chairs, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, were tweaking the deficit reduction plan they made public earlier this month, which includes proposals to cut Social Security benefits, Medicare and Medicaid, and other key programs.

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When the commission was created by President Obama, its charge was to come up with a set of recommendations that would be endorsed by 14 of its members. Those recommendations would then be sent to Congress for an up-or-down vote.
“Now I think their more modest goal is to get 10 members to endorse it” so that Simpson, a Republican, and Bowles, a conservative Democrat, can claim bipartisan support, Schakowsky said.

Schakowsky has released her own deficit-reduction plan, which does not cut Social Security or other human needs programs but tackles excessive spending in other areas, such as the military budget. Elements of Schakowsky’s plan were adopted by the Citizens’ Commission on Jobs, Deficits and America’s Economic Future, which released its report formally today.