House Budget Committee Approves Bill to Create Bipartisan Fiscal Commission
The Debt

House Budget Committee Approves Bill to Create Bipartisan Fiscal Commission

Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA

The House Budget Committee on Thursday approved a landmark bill to create a bipartisan fiscal commission that would make recommendations on how to address the rising national debt.

The commission has been a priority for Republicans and has divided Democrats, many of whom warn that it would open the door to Social Security and Medicare cuts. Thursday’s 22-12 committee vote saw three Democrats join with Republicans to support the bill.

“As stewards of taxpayer dollars, Congress has a moral responsibility to future generations to stop the madness and bring spending under control,” Speaker Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, said in a statement. “Today’s vote by the Budget Committee to establish a fiscal commission is a positive step towards fiscal sanity.”

Rep. Brendan Boyle of Pennsylvania, the top Democrat on the budget panel, has argued that the commission would be used as “a backdoor way to force through unpopular cuts” to entitlement programs and that lawmakers need to have the courage to raise the revenues going to Social Security and Medicare. “We can put both trust funds on the path to full solvency for the rest of this century,” he said Thursday. “We don't need a commission to do that.”

>What the bill would do: The Fiscal Commission Act would create a 16-member panel including 12 members chosen from both parties and both chambers of Congress as well as four outside experts who would not have voting power. It would look for ways to balance the federal budget “at the earliest reasonable date,” stabilize the nation’s debt-to-GDP ratio at or below 100% within 10 years and propose plans to improve the long-term outlook for Social Security and Medicare.