Washington, D.C.—Today, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) responded to the news that the President’s Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform adjourned without agreement. The Executive Order establishing the Commission required an affirmative vote of 14 of 18 Commissioners by December 1, 2010 in order to make an official report to Congress. The Commission was unable to meet the President’s binding deadline due to a lack of support for the draft proposal prepared by the Commission’s co-chairs.
“The failure of the Debt Commission to issue a final report this week clearly shows that a deficit reduction plan that balances the budget by attacking programs that benefit the middle class is a political non-starter," said Conyers. "There was no way a plan that cuts Social Security benefits and raises the retirement age, increases out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries, and lowers income taxes for the rich could be sent to the Congress for consideration.
Some Members of the Commission may choose not to acknowledge this failure and will likely argue that their proposal should receive a vote anyway. This cannot be allowed. From Day 1, members of the Commission knew that an official report would require 14 votes. Having failed to reach that threshold, they cannot change the rules after the fact because they failed to craft a plan that couldreduce the national debtwithout harming the vast majority of the American people.
I believe that Congress should now return its attention to the most pressing issue at hand: putting America back to work. The best way to fix our fiscal problems is to end the high levels of unemployment that plague our country. Productive and sustainable employment strengthens our families, communities, and economy, while increasing tax revenues. Job creation is the solution and it should be the focus of our efforts in the 112th Congress."
Section 5 of the Executive Order issued by President Obama on February 18, 2010, which created the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform states:
(a) No later than December 1, 2010, the Commission shall vote on the approval of a final report containing a set of recommendations to achieve the mission set forth in section 4 of this order.
(b) The issuance of a final report of the Commission shall require the approval of not less than 14 of the 18 members of the Commission.