WASHINGTON – Providing additional momentum to a deficit commission report, two Republican senators said this morning that they would support the plan when the 18-member commission votes tomorrow.
Senators Tom Coburn, of Oklahoma, and Mike Crapo, of Idaho -- two of the Senate's most conservative members -- said they did not agree with all aspects of the report but that Congress had to rapidly send a message that it is serious about slicing the ballooning deficit.
“We’re at a day of reckoning,” Coburn said. “The time for action is now. The threat is real. It’s urgent. We cannot wait…. We are really at war. We’re on three fronts: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the financial tsunami that is facing us.”
The commission report recommends prescription of spending cuts, tax increases, and massive changes in the tax code.
The plan, developed by the commission’s co-chairmen, will go to the full panel for a vote tomorrow. Fourteen of the 18 members would need to endorse the report in order to send it to the Senate.
Support from Coburn and Crapo means that nine members have announced their support. Another commission member, Representative John Spratt, Democrat of South Carolina, said he is likely to support the plan.
Two commissioners have said they will vote against it, while six have not announced their votes. Four of those six would need to back the report for it to force a vote in the Senate, a tally that is still seen as a high hurdle. If it does muster the 14 votes, Coburn said, it would likely be voted on by the Senate early next year, rather than during the lame duck session of Congress.
The plan comes amid a flurry of activity involving taxes and spending in Congress.
House Democrats are preparing today to vote on extending tax cuts, but only for those making $250,000 or less. Republicans are staunchly opposed to that approach, saying that the cuts should be extended for all.
“What’s going on today is just political theater,” Representative Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, told reporters this morning at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “They still run the place, they’re trying to give their members something that they want and put Republicans in a box. It’s all for show, it’s not going to go anywhere.”
Matt Viser can be reached at email@example.com.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.