Fiscal panel's Republicans note 'provocative' recommendations

Republican members of President Obama's fiscal commission called new proposals from the panel's co-chairmen "provocative."

Reps. Dave Camp (Mich.), Paul Ryan (Wis.) and Jeb Hensarling (Texas) took a cautious approach to the new recommendations released Wednesday by Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan Simpson, the co-chairmen of the president's panel to solve the country's long-term debt problem.

The Republicans didn't comment specifically on the recommendations, which call for curbed Social Security benefits, other spending cuts and adjustments to the tax system to increase revenue.

“This is a provocative proposal, and while we have concerns with some of their specifics, we commend the co-chairs for advancing the debate," the trio said in a statement. "We will continue to work toward solutions that help spur economic growth and restrain the explosive growth of government spending.”

The three Republicans could be in a major position to shape the commission's recommendations once they hit Congress. Camp and Ryan stand to become chairmen of the Ways and Means and Budget committees, respectively, under the new GOP-held House. And Hensarling could end up as the fourth-ranking Republican if he prevails in leadership elections next week.

The Republicans' reaction is more muted than that of liberal Democrats, who vocally opposed elements of the chairmen's plan touching on Social Security. Those proposals, charged AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, effectively told workers to "drop dead."