NPR logo Deficit Panel's Plan Gains 2 Conservative Lawmakers' Votes

Deficit Panel's Plan Gains 2 Conservative Lawmakers' Votes

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) makes a point at the deficit panel's Capitol Hill hearing on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010.  Alex Brandon/AP Photo hide caption

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Alex Brandon/AP Photo

President Obama's fiscal responsibility panel gained two symbolically important votes for its controversial recommendations on reducing the nation's deficits and debt, conservative Republican senators Dr. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Mike Crapo of Idaho. (C-SPAN has video of their news conference.)

While the 18-member commission is still unlikely to produce the 14 votes needed to send its report on to the Senate for a vote, the bipartisan backing it's received, especially from some of the most conservative lawmakers on the panel, should make it harder to ignore.

Commission co-chairs, Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan Simpson delayed the final vote until Friday from Wednesday to give more time for the plan to grow on some members. That tack appears to be working.

The plan's controversial recommendations include raising revenue by eliminating or reducing popular tax deductions like the mortgage-interest deduction all the while lowering tax rates and gradually raising the Social Security retirement age to 68.