Durbin announces support for deficit plan

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) announced in an opinion article published on the Chicago Tribune website late Thursday that he will vote in favor of the president's deficit commission plan. Durbin's announcement makes him the tenth vote in favor of the plan, but it will not be enough for the plan to win full deficit commission approval.

So far five members of the commission have stated they will vote against the plan: Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Reps. David Camp (D-Mich.), Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and former Service Employees International Union president Andy Stern. The plan needs 14 of 18 commissioners to vote in favor for it to be approved under commission by-laws. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had said they would bring it up for floor votes if it got official approval.

Durbin in his opinion piece said he is voting in favor of the plan in part because of changes the panel's chairmen made at his request. These include recommending a payroll tax holiday in the short term, a delay in most spending cuts until 2013 and infrastructure investment over the long term. He also said that it was at his insistance that the commission recommmends eliminating all tax credits in favor of lower tax rates.

“Why is a progressive like Dick Durbin voting for this deficit commission report? First, all politicians, left or right, Democrat or Republican, have to acknowledge the deficit crisis our nation faces. Borrowing 40 cents out of every dollar we spend for missiles or food stamps is unsustainable. And being indebted for generations to China and OPEC does not make American a stronger nation,” he wrote.