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The Deficit Commission

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President Obama, by executive order, created the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform in February of 2010 with a mission to: propose recommendations designed to balance the budget, excluding interest payments on the debt, by 2015.

The bi-partisan Commission is made up of 18 members—six appointed by the president, six members of the U.S. House of Representatives, and six members of the U.S. Senate—10 are Democrats and 8 are Republicans.

The Commission was ordered to hold its first vote on final recommendations on December 1, 2010, and in order for the report to be accepted by the group, 14 of the 18 members have to vote in support of its findings.

Republican members:

  • Alan Simpson (co-chair; fmr. U.S. Senator)
  • Dave M. Cote (Honeywell International)
  • Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin)
  • Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas)
  • Rep. Dave Camp (R-Michigan)
  • Sen. Judd Gregg (R-New Hampshire)
  • Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma)
  • Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)

Democrat members:

  • Erskine Bowles (co-chair; fmr. White House Chief of Staff)
  • Andy Stern (fmr. president of Service Employees International Union)
  • Alice Rivlin (Brookings Institution; fmr. director CBO and OMB and Fed vice chair)
  • Ann M. Fudge (fmr. CEO Young & Rubicam Brands)
  • Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.)
  • Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.)
  • Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill)
  • Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Illinois)
  • Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana)
  • Sen. Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota)

Mission

The Commission is charged with identifying policies to improve the fiscal situation in the medium term and to achieve fiscal sustainability over the long run. Specifically, the Commission shall propose recommendations designed to balance the budget, excluding interest payments on the debt, by 2015. This result is projected to stabilize the debt-to-GDP ratio at an acceptable level once the economy recovers. The magnitude and timing of the policy measures necessary to achieve this goal are subject to considerable uncertainty and will depend on the evolution of the economy.

In addition, the Commission shall propose recommendations that meaningfully improve the long-run fiscal outlook, including changes to address the growth of entitlement spending and the gap between the projected revenues and expenditures of the Federal Government.