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Deficit plan fails, but commission still wants to talk

National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Co-Chairs, Erskine Bowles (L) and former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson (R) participate in a public meeting in Washington, D.C.

TEXT OF STORY

Kai Ryssdal: The real story of the vote today by the President's commission on the deficit wasn't about the actual vote. Noses had already been counted and everybody pretty much knew the thing wasn't going to go Congress intact. But that doesn't mean lawmakers won't be talking about some of the commission's recommendations.

Marketplace's David Gura reports.


David Gura: They called their plan "The Moment of Truth" (PDF), a proposal to overhaul the tax code, raise the retirement age and slash defense spending.

Before the vote, the real moment of truth, Alan Simpson, the Commission's co-chair, had this to say:

Alan Simpson: Whether we get two votes or eighteen, this baby ain't going away.

It might get buried in an unmarked grave, he said. But when Congress has to vote on the next budget...

Simpson: This cadaver will rise from the crypt.

Some spookiness there, from the folksy former senator. But there is consensus the commissioners wanna keep talking.

Jan Schakowsky: The conversation is actually going on right now.

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky didn't vote for the plan. She says it unfairly burdens the middle class. But she believes the commission did a good job, tackling a tough issue.

Schakowsky: This certainly has, in a constructive way, opened up the discussion of an unsustainable fiscal path that we're on, and, I think, pointed out many ways that we can address that.

For the first time in a long time, what was once considered untouchable, is up for discussion -- from Medicare to tax deductions. Commissioner Alice Rivlin voted for the proposal. She says she's looking forward to meeting with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and the White House budget director.

Alice Rivlin: I think the president must take leadership and get his own plan on the table, in his budget, and then work out compromises with the House and the Senate so that something happens.

Rivlin says something has to -- and soon.

In Washington, I'm David Gura for Marketplace.

About the author

David Gura is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the Washington, D.C. bureau.

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