Conservatives split on debt plan as Coburn, Crapo announce support

A split emerged among conservatives Thursday over President
Obama’s fiscal commission after two more GOP members of the panel said they’d
support its recommendations.

Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) both
announced that they would support the proposals made Wednesday by the president’s
fiscal commission. Retiring Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.), the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, previously announced his support for the plan. 

But Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), another commission member and the
incoming Budget Committee chairman in the House, denounced the plan, arguing it
does not do enough to prevent rising healthcare costs he said will result from
the new healthcare law.

{mosads}Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), the new GOP conference
chairman and another commission member, has also signaled he will also vote
against the plan.

And the fiscally conservative Americans for Tax Reform on
Thursday warned GOP lawmakers that any support for the plan would be construed
as a violation of the no-new-taxes pledge many Republicans have signed.

Despite that opposition, senate conservatives are giving the
plan presented by former GOP Sen. Alan Simpson (Wy.) and former Clinton White
House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles a better review.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who does not sit on the panel, on
Thursday blessed some of the commission’s tax proposals, calling them intriguing during
an appearance on CBS.

Coburn underlined the importance of doing something to get
the nation’s skyrocketing budget deficit in order during a press conference
announcing he’ll vote for the plan at a commission meeting on Friday.

“I am scared to death of the potential that could unwind
this country far greater than anything we’ve seen before,” Coburn said.

The proposals appear to have nine votes so far on the
18-member commission. If 14 of the commission members vote for the proposals, it
would be adopted. House and Senate leaders have agreed to hold a vote on the
austerity plan if it wins the commission’s approval.

Crapo, who joined Coburn at the press conference, said that
it’s still possible the fiscal panel’s report could reach that 14-vote
threshold, though other members of the commission have been less optimistic.

As for other Senate Republicans, Crapo said that they’re
reserving judgment.

“We have both talked to most of the members of our
conference…and I would say that, other than the members of the commission,
most of the other members of both caucuses are reserving judgment and studying right
now,” he said. “My initial observation is that, just like every other member of
the commission, they are seeing pain and gain in the proposal.”

Tags Mike Crapo Paul Ryan Tom Coburn
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