Appointment of Stern to WH fiscal panel draws business fire


The four appointees will join the commission's co-chairmen, former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), whom Obama named last week.

Congressional leaders will name lawmakers to fill the remaining 12 spots on the 18-member panel. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) chose Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), Kent Conrad (N.D.) and Dick Durbin (Ill.) to represent Senate Democrats. House Democrats and Republicans in both chambers have yet to name their members.

Obama's six appointees are decidedly centrist, except for Stern.

The two business leaders to join the panel are David Cote, CEO and chairman of Honeywell, and Ann Fudge, former CEO of advertising agency Young & Rubicam Brands.

Cote, who has traditionally voted Republican and considers himself a moderate, helped sell the stimulus last year to the business community. Fudge serves on General Electric's board of directors and has also been an executive at General Mills and Kraft. She is the only black member of the panel so far.

Rivlin worked with Bowles to craft balanced budgets in the Clinton administration. She was also the first director of the Congressional Budget Office in the 1970s and served as vice chairwoman of the Federal Reserve in the late 1990s. Rivlin is also serving as co-chairwoman of a bipartisan debt panel created by the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Rivlin suggested Friday that deficits, expected to average $850 billion over the next decade, won't fall to sustainable levels unless lawmakers reform entitlement programs.

"It is clear that the debt problem cannot be solved by spending cuts, tax increases or economic growth alone," Rivlin said in a statement. "The U.S. budget is on an unsustainable trajectory and complacency is no longer an option."


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