President Obama’s fiscal commission voted Friday to approve a plan to cut federal deficits – but will it go anywhere? Fourteen votes would have been required to advance the proposal – which would cut federal deficits by $3.9 trillion over the next decade – for immediate congressional action. The plan received just 11 votes from the 18 member commission. That means it will be up to the Obama administration and Congressional leaders to deal with the 18 member panel’s recommendations. No action is required.
Earlier this week, Representative Paul Ryan, a member of the commission who voted no, said while there were some thing he likes about the plan, it has one fundamental flaw. “I do not believe that this sufficiently fixes the health care problem,” Ryan said. “And guess what? Our debt problem is the health care problem.”
The Janesville Republican cited new numbers from the Government Accounting Office, indicating an $88.6 trillion unfunded liability, primarily stemming from federal health care programs. Ryan said the proposal doesn’t adequately address that. “We’ve got to grow this economy and we’ve got to get a good down payment on taxes and spending now,” he said. “And you really can’t fix this problem, you’re just delaying it, if you don’t tackle health care.”
Ryan said he understands why some members of the commission support the deficit reduction plan despite its failure to tackle unfunded health care costs. “You’re the president’s appointees to create this commission, and he just passed through a health care law that I’m sure you weren’t going to want to undo, and I understand that. But that doesn’t mean that those of us that have a problem with that law want to sign up for something that we think advances that law.”