Instead, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, suggested Sunday that, during tough economic times, a commission charged solely with reducing spending was a better approach to reining in the federal budget deficit.
Last week, the Senate rejected a proposal co-sponsored by Sen. Judd Greg, a New Hampshire Republican, and Sen. Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat, that would have created a bipartisan fiscal commission. The commission would have been charged with making recommendations to Congress regarding cutting spending and raising revenue. The recommendations would have been binding in the sense that Congress would have only been able to accept or reject the recommendations wholesale in an up-or-down vote; Congress would not have had the power to alter the commission’s recommendations before implementing them.
The proposal failed to garner the 60 votes necessary for passage in the Senate after seven Republicans who had previously supported the plan decided to vote against it.
McConnell defended his seven colleagues and pointed out that the president himself had decided only days before last week’s vote to back the proposal after coming under political pressure from moderates and conservatives in Democratic ranks.
McConnell also said Sunday that the nation’s fiscal challenges had more to do with excessive spending than with insufficient taxation.
Washington (CNN) – President Obama remains committed to his pledge to cut the federal budget deficit by late 2012, a White House spokesman said Sunday.
Soon after taking office last year, the president pledged to reduce by half the budget deficit his administration inherited from his predecessor.
Asked about that pledge on State of the Union, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told CNN’s John King that Obama “is committed to keeping that goal, understanding, that as you said, this recession was deeper than we thought it was going to be.”
On Monday, Gibbs said, Obama will outline some steps intended to reduce the deficit, including a freeze on non-security-related, discretionary spending.
(CNN) - At the House Republican retreat in Baltimore Friday, President Barack Obama and GOP Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas disagreed on several key facts about the federal budget. Hensarling said that "what were the old annual deficits under Republicans have become monthly deficits under Democrats" and that Obama's first budget "triples the national debt."
Obama said both of Hensarling's points were "factually just not true" and that he inherited "a $1.3 trillion deficit before I passed any law." The president challenged any "independent fact-checker out there to take a look at your presentation versus mine in terms of the accuracy of what I just said."
Fact Check: Is Hensarling correct when he says that Obama's first budget would have tripled the national debt and that his administration increased the annual deficit by a factor of 12? Is the president correct when he says he inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit?
Baltimore, Maryland (CNN) - President Obama told House Republicans on Friday that he intends to create a commission to confront deficits by executive order.
"The idea of a bipartisan fiscal commission to confront the deficits in the long term died in the Senate the other day," he said. "So I'm going to establish such a commission by executive order, and I hope that you participate fully and genuinely in that effort."
The recommendations of a commission created by executive order would not be binding; those from a commission created by Congress would have been.
(CNNMoney.com) – The Senate on Thursday raised the cap on how much the government can borrow to a record level.
Getting just enough votes to pass, the Senate voted 60-39 to increase the debt limit to $1.9 trillion. That would push the ceiling to $14.294 trillion from the current $12.394 trillion. Sixty votes were required for passage.
But it's not a done deal. The bill now needs to be sent back to the House for a vote, where passage is still in question, according to Congressional Quarterly.
A $1.9 trillion increase is expected to cover the Treasury's projected borrowing needs through at least early 2011, and in any case well past the November mid-term elections. Debt limit votes are always politically difficult and not ones lawmakers seeking re-election like to take.
The ceiling reflects the level up to which the Treasury Department is allowed to borrow. If the ceiling is ever breached, the country would effectively be in default. That can hurt bonds, the dollar and creditors' portfolios.
Washington (CNN) - Be honest: Stories about the federal budget make your eyes glaze over, right?
Unless you're a budget analyst or die-hard political junkie, you probably have no idea what the White House means when it refers to President Obama's plan to freeze non-security federal discretionary spending over the next three years.
So what is the president proposing? And who would be affected if Congress adopts his plan?
Start with the numbers.
When the White House talks about non-security discretionary spending, it's referring to spending on an array of domestic programs - everything from agriculture to energy - that add up to $447 billion of roughly $3.5 trillion in the federal budget.
Washington (CNN) - The Senate rejected a measure Tuesday that would have established a deficit-reduction commission empowered to come up with proposals to cut the federal government's growing budget shortfalls.
President Barack Obama had backed the proposal.
More on CNNMoney.com: Senate nixes debt commission
Full coverage: State of the Union address
The senior officials said the budgets of the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs along with some international programs would be exempt from the spending freeze. "We are at war, and we're going to make sure our troops are funded adequately," said one of the senior officials.
The officials would not reveal the details of which specific domestic programs would be cut as they prepare to face major pushback from liberals in the president's own party because popular education and health spending could be on the chopping block. The details will be officially unveiled next Monday, when the president publicly releases his next budget blueprint for fiscal year 2011 (which starts October 1) and beyond.
"We've got to make some tough decisions," said the second senior official. "Everybody is not going to get what they want."
Former Sen. Pete Domenici, R-New Mexico, who is helping to lead the Debt Reduction Task Force, part of a group called the Bipartisan Policy Center. (Photo Credit: Paul Courson/CNN)
Washington (CNN) - A citizen task force made up of fiscal and political heavyweights hopes to come up with a bipartisan deficit-reduction strategy that Congress and the White House may use in crafting the federal budget.
"We're in this because America has probably the worst economic future that we've ever had," declared former Sen. Pete Domenici, R-New Mexico, who is helping to lead the Debt Reduction Task Force, part of a group called the Bipartisan Policy Center.
Domenici was chairman of the powerful Senate Budget Committee before his retirement. He was joined at a news conference Monday by Alice Rivlin, a Democrat who has been a director of the Congressional Budget Office and a vice-chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, among other positions.
Both acknowledged talk of cost-cutting budget panels from both the White House and Congress. Rivlin said her group intends to come up with a complete budget and a strategy that could be used as a guide to cutting the deficit.