An amendment offered by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Ranking Member Judd Gregg (R-NH) to legislation increasing the debt ceiling (H. J. Res. 45) has been defeated by a vote of 53 to 46. Per a unanimous consent agreement, 60 votes were needed for passage.
The amendment would create a “bipartisan commission to make recommendations for cutting the skyrocketing deficit,” according to the Union Leader.
Gregg said the commission would comprise eight congressional Democrats, eight congressional Republicans and two members appointed by the Obama administration, for a total of 10 Democrats and eight Republicans.
He said the composition of the panel, and the ban on amendments to its recommendations, would prevent either side from “gaming” the other. Any deficit-cutting recommendation must be agreed by 14 of the 18 members, he said, meaning, “It will be a bipartisan report, or it won’t be a report at all.”
The recommendations would be given fast-track consideration under the amendment, culminating in an up-or-down vote.
Prior to this vote, members adopted an amendment offered by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) aimed at preventing cuts in Social Security if the proposed commission were created. It passed by a vote of 97 to 0.
(credit image – getty)