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Senate expected to defeat fiscal panel

Senate expected to defeat fiscal panel

The Senate is expected on Tuesday to reject an amendment creating a fiscal commission that would recommend deficit-cutting measures Congress would have to vote on.

The vote would prompt President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGOP lawmaker: Dems not standing for Trump is 'un-American' Forget the Nunes memo — where's the transparency with Trump’s personal finances? Mark Levin: Clinton colluded with Russia, 'paid for a warrant' to surveil Carter Page MORE and centrist Democrats to turn to their backup plan of creating a commission by executive order, a move that could be announced by the president as early as Wednesday in his State of the Union address.

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The creation of a bipartisan fiscal commission is key to Senate passage of an increase in the $12.4 trillion debt limit, which the Obama administration said is necessary to allow the federal government to operate and borrow money past mid-February.

Obama announced his support for a commission over the weekend, but it’s not expected to be enough to deliver the 60 Senate votes necessary for passage, according to Senate aides.

Senior senators from both parties oppose it. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max BaucusMax Sieben Baucus2020 Dems pose a big dilemma for Schumer Steady American leadership is key to success with China and Korea Orrin Hatch, ‘a tough old bird,’ got a lot done in the Senate MORE (D-Mont.) argued Monday that it would undermine the power of elected officials, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDems confront Kelly after he calls some immigrants 'lazy' McConnell: 'Whoever gets to 60 wins' on immigration Overnight Defense: Latest on spending fight - House passes stopgap with defense money while Senate nears two-year budget deal | Pentagon planning military parade for Trump | Afghan war will cost B in 2018 MORE (R-Ky.) said Sunday it would lead to tax hikes.

The amendment would attach legislation creating the commission to a $1.9 trillion federal debt ceiling increase.

Supporters say creating the panel is the only way to get lawmakers to deal with the country’s $12.3 trillion debt. They argue Congress isn’t willing to take up politically perilous measures such as tax increases, spending cuts and changes to entitlement programs that are needed to reduce trillion-dollar annual deficits.

Centrist Democrats led by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) struck a tentative deal last week with the White House to have Obama issue an executive order creating his own version of a bipartisan commission. It would also be tasked with producing a package of fiscal reforms.

Conrad said last week that it was the “next best option” to a statutory panel.

But Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), the co-sponsor of the amendment creating the commission, has said he would not serve on an Obama-created commission because it would be too weak.

If approved by Congress and signed into law by Obama, the commission would have the power to force the full House and Senate to vote on its recommendations. It could also limit floor amendments and require that amendments be approved only with the support of supermajorities in both chambers. A commission created by executive order would lack those powers.