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The Deficit Commission's Bad Condition

The Senate defeats Conrad-Gregg, 53-46

2:13 PM, Jan 26, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
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Over the weekend, President Obama threw his weight behind a proposal to establish a commission that would recommend changes to spending, taxes, and entitlements. But Obama's support couldn't save the Conrad-Gregg deficit commission legislation in the Senate. Today the bill was defeated 53-46, with Lisa Murkowski abstaining. (Fifty-three senators actually voted for the bill, but it needed 60 according to Senate rules.)

Maybe the Senate could tell Obama wasn't too serious about the commission! Prior to Massachusetts, he had made a deal with congressional Democrats to establish his own, irrelevant commission by executive order. Then Scott Brown came along and Obama shifted course. But the Brown victory has weakened the Obama presidency, with the White House floundering on issues ranging from health care, to the spending freeze, to Chairman Ben Bernanke's re-appointment.

If anything, 53 votes is a pretty good showing for a commission that no one really liked. Liberals mistrusted the Conrad-Gregg proposal because entitlements and social spending would have been on the table. Conservatives didn't like it because usually such commissions result in heavy taxes and light spending cuts. The result? Congress won't be able to outsource fiscal responsibility.

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