Obama wants Stern to stay on debt commission

President Barack Obama doesn't want Andy Stern, the SEIU chief and ally of the White House, to go too far after his expected retirement later this week. 

Obama wants Stern to remain on the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, an 18-member panel of Democrats and Republicans delving into federal debt and deficit issues, a White House official told The Hill on Tuesday. The panel is charged with finding a way to balance the budget by 2015.  

In his 14 years as head of the powerful 2.2-milion member Service Employees International Union, Stern has become a prominent political player and staunch supporter of Obama. He backed the president's 2008 election bid with money and by building support among union members. He also supported the new health care law.  

The fiscal commission is led by former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Senate Whip Alan Simpson. To report a recommendation, the panel would need 14 out of 18 votes. The deadline is Dec. 1 and the House and Senate would vote before Congress adjourns for the year.