President's Fiscal Commission

‘Line’ Items: Tax Reform, the Fed, and Congress Back to Work

Commission Commencement – President Obama signed Thursday the Executive Order officially creating the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. He also named former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erksine Bowles and former Republican Senator Alan Simpson as the bipartisan co-chairs of the panel.

Weekend Editorial Roundup

Here are the highlights from this weekend’s editorials on fiscal and budget policy:

The New York Times argued that the temporarily higher federal matching for state Medicaid funds should continue past the end of next year, when the higher matching rates are set to expire.  They claimed that this would be a good way to help states' budgets and will help the increased numbers of poor people who currently rely on Medicaid for healthcare.

CRFB, Concord, and CED Commend Commission

Moments ago, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget released a joint statement on the President's just-announced National Committee on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, along with the Concord Coalition and Committee for Economic Development.

Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson to Lead Deficit Commission

According to Lori Montgomery:

 Mr. Obama will name former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson as co-chairmen of the commission Thursday when he signs an executive order creating the panel, an administration official said...

‘Line’ Items: Commissions, Summits, Caps and Dogs

Commission Coming – The White House says President Obama will create a fiscal commission by executive order within days. Meanwhile, Republicans still have not committed to participating.

Snow Job – Just hours after Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) announced they had reached a deal on a jobs bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) plowed it under, saying it was too bloated with provisions not related to creating jobs. The Senate will consider the scaled-down version Reid crafted on February 22 when it returns from its week-long President’s Day recess.

‘Line’ Items: Washington Activities Affecting the Bottom Line

No Limit to Ploys in House Rules – The House raised the debt limit to $14.3 trillion on Thursday using a procedure that allowed members to approve the increase without a direct roll call vote on it.

The State of the Union is...

Yesterday, President Obama gave his first official State of the Union address, outlining his agenda for the rest of the year. We watched the speech closely (and even tweeted on it), and were impressed overall. Although President Obama argued that "jobs must be our number one focus in 2010," he paid particular attention to the deficit. As the President explained:

[The deficit] is a challenge that makes all others that much harder to solve.

"If You Are Not For This Commission, Than What Are You For?"

"If you are not for this commission, than what are you for?" was Republican Senator George Voinovich's reaction to fellow Republicans who voted against the creation of the Conrad-Gregg fiscal commission yesterday in the Senate. As we reported yesterday in The Bottom Line, the commission fell short of the 60 votes needed in order to pass. Twenty-three Republicans voted along with 22 Democrats to defeat the commission.

Budget Commission Falls Short

A proposal to form a bipartisan commission to address the nation’s mounting long-term debt just fell short of the 60 votes needed for approval in the Senate. The vote on the Conrad-Gregg amendment to the debt limit increase was 53 in favor to 46 opposed. The vote tally detailing how Senators voted is available here.

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