Three Senate Democrats Selected for Deficit Commission

Posted February 23, 2010 at 5:43pm

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) appointed three Democrats on Tuesday to serve on a bipartisan deficit commission established by the White House last week.

Reid tapped Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.), Finance Chairman Max Baucus (Mont.) and Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (N.D.) to serve on the panel, which President Barack Obama created through an executive order.

“The establishment of this commission is an important signal that we understand the need to address our fiscal challenges and are committed to finding bipartisan solutions,” Reid said in a statement. “Senators Durbin, Baucus and Conrad all have vast experience in dealing with the federal budget and have a proven record of looking out for working families like those in Nevada.”

Obama issued the order to create the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform just weeks after the Senate voted down legislation, sponsored by Conrad, which would have created a similar panel. Under Conrad’s bill, Congress would be required to vote on the commission’s recommendations. Obama cannot force a vote in Congress with an executive order.

Still, Reid said in his statement Tuesday, “I will work to ensure that the commission’s recommendations receive a vote in the Senate.”

Republicans remain skeptical, however, and have yet to announce who will represent them on the panel, whose recommendations to reduce the deficit must be submitted to Congress by Dec. 1.

The commission will include 18 members, of which Congressional leaders will appoint 12 and Obama will appoint six. Of the 12 chosen by House and Senate leaders, three each will be chosen by the Republican and Democratic leaders in each chamber, and all must be sitting Members of Congress.