By J. Taylor Rushing - 02/03/10 10:55 PM EST
Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) said President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaClinton still on track for nomination despite Indiana setback Trump takes Indiana, forcing Cruz out of GOP race Morris: 2016 a 1952 redux MORE should strong-arm his party in order to pass legislation forming a fiscal commission to make recommendations to reduce the deficit.
The legislation calling for the bipartisan panel failed on a 53-46 vote last month. Gregg, a lead co-sponsor of the legislation, wants another vote and thinks Obama should produce the seven votes that fell short.
But Gregg on Wednesday noted that Senate Democrats control 60 votes, at least until Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R-Mass.) is sworn in.
“The best way to do it is to have another vote, and have them produce a few more votes,” Gregg said. “Clearly, the White House has shown the ability to discipline their party in the Senate, and if they want to pass this, they should be able to … If they can get 60 for healthcare and 60 for pay-as-you-go limits, they can certainly get seven more votes.”
Two senior Democratic aides said no re-vote is under consideration and that Obama's commission is moving forward.
"It was disappointing that Republican supporters of a deficit-reduction commission quickly flip-flopped once President Obama endorsed it,” one aide said. “If they now want to flip-flop-flip, great. But President Obama shouldn’t wait for them before moving forward with his own commission."
Republican Sens. Sam Brownback (Kan.), Mike CrapoMike CrapoHousing groups argue Freddie Mac's loss should spur finance reform Bipartisan effort seeks end to budget gimmicks Republicans mum on possibility of Trump filling Supreme Court seat MORE (Idaho), John Ensign (Nev.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas), James InhofeJames InhofeThree more Republican senators to meet with Supreme Court nominee Senate unveils B waterways bill with aid for Flint 0 million Flint aid package included in water bill MORE (Okla.) and John McCainJohn McCainFive takeaways from the Indiana primary Overnight Energy: Clinton takes on former coal industry CEO The Trail 2016: Indiana gets ugly on GOP judgment day MORE (Ariz.) all voted against the bill, despite being co-sponsors. A seventh GOP senator, Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiThe Hill's 12:30 Report Bishop eyes new Puerto Rico bill after recess Week ahead: Senate looks to wrap up energy, water spending bill MORE of Alaska, had co-sponsored the bill and planned to support it but was forced to miss the vote for family reasons.
Opponents of the idea, including the defecting co-sponsors, said they objected to delegating congressional control over fiscal decisions; the commission’s authority to recommend revenue-raising ideas such as tax increases; and a perception that the commission wasn’t focused enough on spending cuts.
Gregg’s comment Wednesday came despite clear movement by the White House toward an executive-based panel. Several times in the past week, including in his State of the Union address, at an event with House Republicans on Friday, and again Wednesday before Senate Democrats, Obama has mentioned the panel he plans to create by executive order.
Gregg and Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderDemocrats block energy spending bill over Iran amendment Overnight Finance: Puerto Rico pressure builds; Big tariff vote Wednesday Senate votes to increase wind energy funding MORE (Tenn.) on Wednesday were critical of an executive panel, saying it would be weaker than a legislative panel.
Conrad has said in recent days that he doubts any of the defecting Republicans would reverse their votes, and Gregg agreed Wednesday. But Gregg called on Obama administration officials to lobby the 23 Democrats who opposed it to change their minds.
“We’re still believing in a fairly big Republican vote — almost half the conference,” Gregg said. “It seems to me that another vote would have a good chance of passing if the White House really wanted to engage.”
Gregg said he has not personally contacted the White House to lobby for a second commission vote, and does not plan to. “I’ll leave that up to Kent,” he said, referring to Conrad.
The 23 Democrats who opposed the commission last week include Daniel Akaka (Hawaii), Max BaucusMax BaucusWyden unveils business tax proposal College endowments under scrutiny The chaotic fight for ObamaCare MORE (Mont.), Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownDem senators: Slash executive pay at pension plans seeking benefit cuts Lawmaker offers bill to impose 'exit tax' on expatriating companies For Clinton, there's really only one choice for veep MORE (Ohio), Roland Burris (Ill.), Robert Byrd (W.Va.), Maria CantwellMaria CantwellThis week: Congress on track to miss Puerto Rico deadline Week ahead: Senate looks to wrap up energy, water spending bill Senate, House face time crunch on energy bill MORE (Wash.), Ben CardinBen CardinOvernight Energy: Clinton takes on former coal industry CEO Iran and heavy water: Five things to know GOP blocks slate of Obama judicial nominees MORE (Md.), Bob CaseyBob CaseyObama-backed Dem makes gains in Pa. primary Senate introduces tariff relief bill Lawmakers react to Villanova's buzzer-beater NCAA win MORE Jr (Pa.), Chris Dodd (Conn.), Tom HarkinTom HarkinDo candidates care about our health or just how much it costs? The Hill's 12:30 Report Mark Mellman: Parsing the primary processes MORE (Iowa), Daniel Inouye (Hawaii), Paul Kirk (Mass.), Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyOvernight Finance: Fed steady on rates; Dems rally behind retirement rule Overnight Finance: Puerto Rico pressure builds; Big tariff vote Wednesday Senate votes to increase wind energy funding MORE (Ore.), Barbara MikulskiBarbara MikulskiAcela primaries: Winners, losers Failed Md. gubernatorial candidate wins primary for Donna Edwards seat Candidate who spent M loses Md. House race MORE (Md.), Patty MurrayPatty MurrayOvernight Healthcare: Medicare fight looms on Capitol Hill Senate GOP hardening stance against emergency funding for Zika Overnight Healthcare: More trouble for Zika funding MORE (Wash.), Jack ReedJack ReedTroops question rules for ISIS medal Bill would target retaliation against military sexual assault victims Pentagon: Russian military support for Assad remains strong MORE (R.I.), Jay RockefellerJay RockefellerLobbying world Overnight Tech: Senators place holds on FCC commissioner Overnight Tech: Senate panel to vote on Dem FCC commissioner MORE (W.Va.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersFive takeaways from the Indiana primary Sanders: 'Extremely undemocratic' to call Clinton the nominee at this point Clinton still on track for nomination despite Indiana setback MORE (I-Vt.), Arlen Specter (Pa.), Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowDem senators: Slash executive pay at pension plans seeking benefit cuts Overnight Energy: Flint aid attached to water bill 0 million Flint aid package included in water bill MORE (Mich.) , Tom UdallTom UdallSurprise resignation threatens to hobble privacy watchdog Dem bill cracks down on payday lenders Menendez wants vote on ambassador to Mexico MORE (N.M.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseTwo more GOP senators to meet with Obama's Supreme Court pick Dems propose timeline for Garland Overnight Energy: Michigan governor to face Congress over Flint MORE (R.I.).
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellFive takeaways from the Indiana primary Reid: Judiciary a 'rubber stamp' for Trump-McConnell Iran and heavy water: Five things to know MORE (Ky.) wasn’t a co-sponsor but was a one-time supporter of the idea who changed his mind. On CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, he said he did so because the commission wasn’t focused enough on reducing spending.