McConnell Favors Deficit Reduction Commission Focused Solely on Spending

The leading Republican “in the Senate pushed aside concerns that some members of his party had engaged in rank partisanship when they recently rejected a proposal for a bipartisan commission that would have made binding recommendations to Congress on ways to increase revenue and reduce spending,” CNN reports.

Instead, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, suggested Sunday that, during tough economic times, a commission charged solely with reducing spending was a better approach to reining in the federal budget deficit.

Last week, the Senate rejected a proposal co-sponsored by Sen. Judd Greg, a New Hampshire Republican, and Sen. Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat, that would have created a bipartisan fiscal commission. The commission would have been charged with making recommendations to Congress regarding cutting spending and raising revenue. The recommendations would have been binding in the sense that Congress would have only been able to accept or reject the recommendations wholesale in an up-or-down vote; Congress would not have had the power to alter the commission’s recommendations before implementing them.

The proposal failed to garner the 60 votes necessary for passage in the Senate after seven Republicans who had previously supported the plan decided to vote against it.

McConnell defended “his seven colleagues and pointed out that the president himself had decided only days before last week’s vote to back the proposal after coming under political pressure from moderates and conservatives in Democratic ranks.”

Asked whether his preference “for a commission focused on reducing spending was related to the fact that 2010 is a midterm election year when voters are likely to be weary of tax increases, McConnell said focusing only on spending was a better approach in the current economic climate.”

(credit image – associated press)

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