February 16th, 2010
07:40 PM ET
4 years ago

Obama to create fiscal commission Thursday

President Barack Obama will sign an executive order Thursday aimed at reining in the federal debt.
President Barack Obama will sign an executive order Thursday aimed at reining in the federal debt.

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama will sign an executive order Thursday setting up a bipartisan fiscal commission to weigh proposals aimed at reining in the soaring federal debt, according to a White House official.

The official, who requested anonymity because the president had not yet made the announcement, said the co-chairs of the commission will be Democrat Erskine Bowles, former White House chief of staff for Bill Clinton; and Alan Simpson, former Republican senator from Wyoming.

It will be officially titled the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

In his weekly radio and Internet address this past Saturday, Obama touted the commission as the best way to attain "long-term deficit reduction" at a time when Congress seems paralyzed to come together on the mix of spending cuts and tax increases that will likely be needed to balance the nation's budget.

"In the end, solving our fiscal challenge - so many years in the making - will take both parties coming together, putting politics aside, and making some hard choices about what we need to spend, and what we don't," Obama said Saturday. "It will not happen any other way."

Obama has complained bitterly about the fact that a stronger fiscal commission was killed in the Senate earlier this month when several Republicans dropped their previous support after the president declared he would back it, leading to Democratic charges that the GOP was simply trying to deny Obama a victory.

"Unfortunately this proposal - which received the support of a bipartisan majority in the Senate - was recently blocked," Obama said in Saturday's address. "So, I will be creating this commission by executive order."

The stronger commission, which was proposed by Sens. Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota, and Judd Gregg R-New Hampshire, would have had the full force of law instead of just being created by executive order. It would have mandated that the commission's recommendations had to be voted on both chambers of Congress, forcing lawmakers in both parties to vote up or down on the panel's expected recommendations on spending cuts and tax hikes.

Under the current scenario, the commission will not have the power to force Congress to cast politically unpopular votes. So the commission's report could wind up being another blue ribbon panel report that sits on a shelf somewhere, unless there is public pressure for Congress to act on the proposals.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Josh

    You want to say money? quit spending it on forming committees, Obama has 4 more cabinet posts then their were 15 years ago not to mention all of the employees that work for those committees and cabinate posts, consolidate power times are tight...

    February 16, 2010 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  2. If you want someting taxed, and ruined, elect a democrat

    This is GREAT!! He creates a larger deficit in 2 years than GWB was able to do in 8 and he still has the nerve to blame somebody else. This is EXACTLY why the Dems are falling hard and they don't even realize it. I remember SOOOOOO many posters on this board saying "Conservatism is Dead", "The GOP is no longer", "The GOP is dead".....well, I say to those people..."Welcome to the Resurrection" ...and thank you, because you helped. :)

    February 16, 2010 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  3. DB TX

    Where was fiscal responsibility when democratic congress and you started to pass all of these bill with full of pork.

    February 16, 2010 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  4. Joe

    I'm sure the republicans will find some way to denounce, deride, belittle, and sabotage this latest effort at rational governance on the part of the president. I wonder if they'll think it's a socialist plot, a fascist ploy, an attempt to undermine the tea parties of decent god loving Americans, or an attempt to distract attention away from his missing birth certificate?. Hmmm. This one will keep the crazies up all night.

    February 16, 2010 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  5. Mitchell from MS

    Why??? Does he really think anyone believes he is doing anything?

    That is ok BHO you have been on vacation for over a year on the tax payers dime....come November your party losses the house and senate.

    February 16, 2010 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  6. stormerF

    As long as his so called fiscal commission does not recommend another stimulis bill for jobs. If he loads it with Democrats to pass another stimulis bill he can really kiss all the democrats in congress goodbye.

    February 16, 2010 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
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