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. Mike

    What a joke nobama has/is becoming. He still cannot read or refuses to read the handwriting on the wall. Oh well, come 2012 he will be leaving also.

    February 16, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  2. Sheena

    So now Obama is going to try to get tough, is that what his advisors are saying and pulling Obamas strings now.
    And all this talk about coming together with the Other party, does he really think that if he makes nice now, that will change the vote towards him in November and once he gets his cronies back in it will be back to the country takeover again and to hell with the people. Well much to his surprise the people are not as dumb as he thought, he fooled the people twice, in his campaign promises, then when he got in, his idea of change sure wasnt what the people wanted, so there wont be a 3rd time for him to mess with this country
    And he needs to stop casting blame on former administration, is he going to do this his entire term. Pelosi, Reed, and the ones he set up in his administration had a whole year to do allot of damage themselves and spend tons of our money, so they better start looking under their own carpet before they cast stones!

    February 16, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  3. Jimmy James

    Why not just continue to spend your way out of it Mr President. Make government bigger. We have been told your plans take time. Maybe if you put us in more debt we can borrow our way out.

    February 16, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  4. Pragmatic

    Can't spin the fact that republicans wrote the bill, the President supported it so those who crafted it, voted against it: republicans putting party before what is good for the country – again.

    Wish the Democrats would get some backbone, realize the republicans decided to vote "no"to everything the night Obama was elected, and move ahead without the naysayers. Then let the voters decide.

    February 16, 2010 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  5. Total BS

    I'll bet anyone on here (100.00) that the GOP/ tea baggers will vote No to anything that comes out of this commission !!

    February 16, 2010 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  6. m smith

    I guess it is much better to complaine so they can show the people that listen to them how coservitive they are than to really try to bring down the deficit. Does that tell you anything about how concerned they are for the country and our childrens future like they keep saying. Wake up people

    February 16, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  7. found work without help of stimulus or obama

    another czar, another Obama Lies and more MISLEADERSHIP

    February 16, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  8. Wonder man

    It won't matter unless he appoints Ron Paul as the head of this commission.

    February 16, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  9. Tim

    If President Obama wants fiscal reform he should start with abolishing the private banking cartel known as The Federal Reserve.

    February 16, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  10. Moderate Sean

    What a shame of a Congress (Senate and House) that we, the American Public, must contend with...their mantra: "I am for it, unless President Obama is for it". What a disgrace!

    February 16, 2010 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  11. Kathleen

    Didn't Obama do this once and the Republicans even voted that one
    down! "President backed a mored powerful Congressional-backed fiscal commission: failed in the Senate after several Repubs switched votes!", quote from CNN's Ed Henry. Thank you Ed Henry
    for reminding us!

    February 16, 2010 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  12. Greg, MN

    I thought Obama was elected to clean up the smaller fiscal mess he inherited? Now he's tripled it and wants a commission to figure out what he screwed up so bad?

    February 16, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  13. Andy

    Can not believe this guy,start a fire and burn a barn to the ground.Then call the fire department,who is this joker fooling.

    February 16, 2010 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  14. Candi

    Open the barn door and run the horses out,then ask for help on closing the door.

    February 16, 2010 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  15. No More Incumbents

    I'll save him some time. Just stop spending our money. Problem solved.

    February 16, 2010 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  16. Jake

    He is just "johnny on the spot","a take the bull by the horns" kinda guy.Spend America's money like a drunk sailor,raise spending limits and spend more,then form a committee to stop it.Does he think everyone is stupid?Guest he thinks people will see him as saving the day.

    February 16, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  17. alex lyrics

    AS Soon as the Democratic party of mine grows some balls, then I will start showing financial support for upcomming elections.

    If My party continues to back down from republicans on these bills like job, and healthcare then I wont give a penny to help.

    February 16, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  18. Cayce

    Absolutely unbelievable.Waste generations of Americans money,then form a committee to stop it after the fact.Can we just impeach this fraud.

    February 16, 2010 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  19. GuyInVA

    Oh thank God! A COMMISSION. I personally prefer a Blue Ribbon Panel, but either way, we're saved!

    February 16, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  20. Lucy in Ga.

    The President quadurples the deficit,spends 787 billion on jobs that never happened,implemented the cash for clunkers,does not even know we needed jobs for a year,and now wants to stop the bleeding.Kinda like shooting someone with a shotgun and giving them a bandaid.

    February 16, 2010 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  21. John

    Is this not just a little late to worry about the reckless spending,that has already happened.

    February 16, 2010 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  22. terry,va.

    Obummie you are way behind the curve. Just resign and save us further pain and embarrassment. Are we missing GW bush yet? I think so!!!

    February 16, 2010 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  23. Debbie

    Go Obama! I'm glad he is getting angry and doing something and calling people out!

    Sooo tired of the GOP just say no crowd. They use all their energy fighting against any solutions. I'm beginning to wonder if they are pro America or anti-America.

    Bush screwed up America in about 2-3 years. He allowed banks to run wild. His own Chris Cox looked the other way at the SEC. He began a $3 trillion deficit.

    How long will we keep blaming Bush? Forever because its the facts. How long will we give Obama to fix the mess? I will give him the same amount of time to be fair.

    February 16, 2010 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  24. GaryB

    Too bad the Republicans in congress pulled their support for a real commission for political reasons. It appears that sticking it to the President is more important to the GOP these days than actually doing anything good for the American people. There are some good Republicans (as an independent I've voted for some in the past) but by and large the current crop in Congress needs to be cut loose.

    February 16, 2010 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  25. Perusing-through

    GOP HYPOCRITES BACK-PEDAL THEIR SUPPORT ON DEFICIT-REDUCTION FISCAL COMMISSION

    Republican-GOP was for 'it' before they came out against 'it'.

    February 16, 2010 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
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