AARP opposes fiscal commission

The influential seniors group AARP late Saturday voiced its opposition to the fiscal commission backed by President Barack Obama.

In a statement, AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond said that the commission could make cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The former two are large entitlement programs for people over the age of 65.

"AARP is disappointed by the Obama Administration's support for a provision that would likely result in significant reductions to the Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs - affecting millions of Americans - without the benefit of full and open debate by accountable Members of Congress," LeaMond said.

The group's announcement comes on the same day Obama called on Congress to pass the fiscal commission intended on bringing down the nation's rising debt. The bipartisan panel would recommend spending cuts and tax increases to Congress.

The entitlement programs make up a large portion of the federal budget but it is not clear if a commission will target them. The AARP said it will work with Congress and the administration to find other ways to bring down the debt.

AARP's announcement also puts it at odds with the Obama administration months after it offered its support for healthcare reform legislation backed by the White House.

The group's opposition also may impact the form of the commission. The White House and senior Democrats have reportedly reached a deal to create a commission by executive order should Congress not pass a bill creating one.

But Senate Budget Committee ranking member Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) has said that an executive commission would lack proper authority to make changes while chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) has said it is better than nothing.

The Senate is slated to vote on the commission this week, but it is unclear whether or not it has the votes to pass.