14 Dems want deficit action despite failed fiscal commission vote

A group of 14 Democrats pressed for a congressional action to address the deficit despite a failure by President Obama's fiscal commission to achieve enough votes to send its austerity plan to Congress for a vote.

A group of Senate centrists asked Obama and the top party leaders in both chambers of Congress to push ahead with legislation to address deficits and debt.

"Prompt action is needed to bring the country’s deficit into balance and stabilize our debt over the long term," the group wrote. "Regardless of whether the Commission’s report receives the support of at least 14 of its 18 members, we urge legislative action to address these problems."

The group's letter came as the president's 18-member fiscal commission fell short of the 14 vote necessary to approve the report and send it to Capitol Hill, where leaders had guaranteed it an up-or-down vote if it had been approved.

One commission member, former SEIU President Andy Stern, an opponent of the plan, has urged a vote on the proposal anyway.

The 11 commissioners who did vote for the plan includes a mixture of liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans. The bipartisan vote has spurred hopes that a plan in the mold of the fiscal commission's recommendations might come up before Congress, especially with a GOP-held House eager to enact spending cuts.

The 14 senators hailed the commission's recommendations on Social Security, healthcare, and tax reforms — three cornerstones of the plan on which support for a plan could hinge.

"There is no easy way out, and Washington must lead the way," they said. "The strong bipartisan support its recommendations have already received demonstrates we can, and must, come together to solve this impending fiscal crisis. Every day that we fail to act the choices become more difficult."

The signatories were Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Michael Bennet (D-Colo,), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.).

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