Senators Won’t Grow Deficit Without A Cost-Cutting Commission
Congress may outsource its tough budgetary decisions, if moderate, deficit-anxious lawmakers get their way. "Several U.S. senators said on Tuesday they probably could force Congress to cede some control to a bipartisan commission that would tackle the United States' looming budget crisis," Reuters reports.
A group of 15 Democratic senators say they will not vote for deficit-boosting legislation unless the commission is created. The commission would come up with budget-control plans that Congress would have to approve, and could give lawmakers some political cover. The country faced record deficits in 2009 because of the recession, and "(b)udget experts project that deficits will remain stubbornly high over the next 10 years even as the economy improves, due to ballooning spending on retirement and healthcare programs" (Sullivan, 11/10).
"Among (the commission's) chief responsibilities would be closing the gap between tax revenue coming in and the larger cost of paying for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits," The Hill reports. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is meanwhile pushing on the other side of the Capitol to raise the debt ceiling. "If the debt ceiling is not raised above its current $12.1 trillion mark by (next month), the government will exceed its borrowing limits and will be forced to default on the debt" (Allen and Alarkon, 11/10).
(Related KHN story: On Hill, Bipartisan Support Emerging For Commission To Control Costs, Pianin, 11/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.