Friday, January 29, 2010

Update on the Fast-Track Commission

The continuing story line of a fast-track debt-reduction commission continues to unfold this week, as the President announced in his first State of the Union address that he would enforce an Executive Order to create a commission responsible for developing recommendations to reduce the federal deficit. The original commission, proposed by Sen. Conrad and Sen. Gregg was defeated in the Senate this week by a vote of 53 to 46.

WOW joined advocates across the nation in opposition to the defeated commission because it focused target cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other critical income support programs.

Rather than cut, Social Security must be strengthened, particularly for vulnerable populations. According to the Elder Index, one in four elders lives on Social Security alone, and this is not enough for them to make ends meet. Prior to the vote on the commission’s establishment,a unanimous amendment was adopted to exempt Social Security from the jurisdiction of the Congressional commission.

The recommendations of the originally proposed Congressional commission would have been subject to an up or down vote, circumventing the democratic process and disallowing the opportunity for open debate. Though the exact form of the President’s Commission is unclear its recommendations would not be binding and would warrant an open and democratic process, unlike the Congressional commission proposed in the Senate.

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