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Can Deficit Reduction Panels Get Congress' Attention

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Can Deficit Reduction Panels Get Congress' Attention

Economy

Can Deficit Reduction Panels Get Congress' Attention

Can Deficit Reduction Panels Get Congress' Attention

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/131406072/131406059" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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President Obama's bipartisan deficit commission last week released recommendations on how to reduce the federal deficit. On Wednesday, members the Rivlin-Domenici group issued their report. A third group, the Peterson Pew Commission on Budget Reform, last week released its report calling for new rules to force Congress to limit borrowing.

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson has been listening to people offering answers.

MARA LIASSON: Here's Bowles on All THINGS CONSIDERED.

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ERSKINE BOWLES: If we don't do something about this, this is to me like me going out and buying a brand new Cadillac, driving it all over the world and beating it up till it's not worth very much but I charged it to my grandkids. We have got to take this on.

LIASSON: Alice Rivlin, who was President Clinton's budget director, co-chaired another commission - the Bipartisan Policy Center's Debt Reduction Task Force, which came out yesterday with its plan. It also cuts spending and raises some taxes in the future while calling for a one year payroll tax holiday right away to encourage hiring. This, says Rivlin, is the big subject of the moment.

ALICE RIVLIN: This is our effort to say how we can reduce the debt in the future, keep the recovery going, and put the budget on a sustainable track. Everybody knows that you have to do both sides of the budget; we can't solve this problem unless we both restrain the growth of spending and raise revenues in the future.

LIASSON: Unidentified Man: I'm Hugh Jidette and I'm running for president. I'll say a lot of things...

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(SOUNDBITE OF BABY)

INSKEEP: ...but do I really care about this baby's future? When he's 30 years old, our $13 trillion debt will be 70 trillion. Eventually his taxes will double, just to pay the interest. I'm Hugh Jidette, and I say let's keep borrowing and stick our kids with the tab.

LIASSON: In Washington, commissions on the deficit have come and gone before. Of the current flurry of deficit reduction panels, only the president's commission has a chance of having its report voted on by Congress. But only if it gets 14 of 18 commissioners to agree by December 1st. Not very likely. Alice Rivlin says to get anything enacted it will take a big push.

RIVLIN: I believe that can happen but it has to take the president and the leadership of Congress, both parties.

LIASSON: Mara Liasson, NPR News, the White House.

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