Sen. Kent Conrad (right) speaks to an aide during a meeting Wednesday of President Barack Obama's fiscal commission. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin and Alice Rivlin are at left.
A bipartisan majority of President Barack Obama’s fiscal commission backed a sweeping deficit reduction plan Friday, but not enough of the panel’s members voted yes to send the proposal to Congress for consideration.
The commission’s 11-7 vote in favor of the plan to slash $4 trillion from the deficit over the next decade had the support of the bulk of the Senators on the panel, but House Budget Chairman John Spratt (D-S.C.) was the only House lawmaker on the commission to back it. Despite the majority vote, the plan will not go to the full Congress; it fell three votes short of the 14 votes needed.
Neither Democrats nor Republicans expected the blueprint would be translated into bill form and pass both chambers before the end of the lame-duck session.
Instead, lawmakers on the commission talked about setting the stage for budget negotiations next year.
House Republicans on the panel oppose the $1 trillion in tax hikes in the final report and the continuation of Obama’s health care overhaul, while House Democrats other than Spratt said the cuts would hit the middle class too hard.
“The top 1 percent of Americans now own 34 percent of America’s wealth,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said.
But even the lawmakers who opposed the specifics of the fiscal commission report agreed that there is a need to take on the debt.
And the final vote was notable for forging support across party lines in the Senate, with Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) joining conservative Republican Sens. Tom Coburn (Okla.), Judd Gregg (N.H.) and Mike Crapo (Idaho) in endorsing the plan.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., speaks with reporters following a vote in the Senate. Gillibrand’s proposal to remove military commanders from the process of reviewing sexual-assault cases was left out of the bicameral deal on the defense authorization bill, but the senator is pushing for a vote on her plan soon.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.