Bipartisan Commission Considered as Administration Seeks to Show Resolve on a Problem that Dogs Its Broader Agenda
The White House is considering a bipartisan commission to tackle the nation's swelling deficit, as it seeks to show resolve on a problem that threatens its broader agenda.
Top White House officials, including budget director Peter Orszag, met Tuesday with Senate Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Kent Conrad to discuss establishing such a commission, which has been pushed by Mr. Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat, and his Republican counterpart on the committee, Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire.
Senior congressional officials said the idea was gaining traction. Two officials said the White House was likely to make its own proposal for a panel, which could have less power than the proposed Conrad-Gregg commission. White House aides said no final decision had been made.
The idea is to bring Republicans and Democrats together to make tough decisions about how to cut costs or raise revenue in areas including Social Security, Medicare and taxes. For the White House, establishing a commission would show that the Obama administration is serious about tackling the deficit while postponing any real moves until after the 2010 elections.