“I’d have a rough time supporting it, to be honest with you,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-UT, told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King on State of the Union. “I think it’d just wind up being another excuse [to raise taxes] rather than facing the tough problems that we all should be facing right now, that the president should be facing . . . He ought to do something about it rather than push it off again to another commission that never seems to work anyway.”
The President reversed course and issued a statement Saturday supporting the statutory proposal which could make recommendations binding on Congress. The White House previously proposed the commission be created by executive order – meaning its recommendations would have been non-binding.
Asked whether he would support the statutory proposal, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NJ, said he was considering both alternatives.
“I haven’t made that final conclusion,” Menendez told King. “I’m looking at, in fact, which of the two might be the best way to ensure that we reduce the deficit.”
Menedez’s sticking point with statutory proposal is the fact that it would only allow an “up-or-down” vote on the bipartisan commission’s recommendations. The other proposal now abandoned by the White House would have allowed Congress to amend the commission’s recommendations.
“Up-or-down votes on what a group people decided, is to some degree giving up the responsibility that you had to the people who elected you,” the New Jersey Democrat said Sunday.
Hatch had other reservations. “I suspect that the main thing that will come out of any commission like that will be tax increases,” he said. “I don’t see the stomach in the administration or our friends on the other side to do any cutting, to do any paring down of government.”
President Obama’s recent change of heart appears to have been influenced by the administration’s need to win support for an increase in the debt ceiling.
A vote on raising the national debt ceiling is coming up in the Senate Tuesday. Observers say that failure to lift the ceiling might further rattle the financial markets.
–CNN’s Ed Henry, Dana Bash, and John King contributed to this report.