White House questions GOP support for Simpson-Bowles plan

As the White House went on for the third straight day insisting that it would not negotiate over extending the debt ceiling and again suggested that Republican plans to cut spending lack specificity, the president’s top spokesman addressed a recent—and rather unique—proposal by one House Republican freshman: namely, to enact the findings of the President Barack Obama’s own Simpson-Bowles Commission to reduce the deficit.

At the regular briefing for reporters at the White House Wednesday, Human Events noted that a number of the 34 Republican freshmen in the House have begun to talk about dusting off Simpson-Bowles and passing it into law. Noting that one of the freshmen, Texas Rep. Steve Stockman, told us last week he would proceed with introducing Simpson-Bowles as legislation on the House floor, we asked Press Secretary Jay Carney for the administration’s reaction.

“The position the president continues to have on the commission that he created,” Carney said, “was that it provided a very important framework to move forward on deficit reduction.” Noting that “I trust your reporting about the interest of some House Republicans in putting that forward,” Carney went on to say that he would be “interested to hear what (House Budget Committee) Chairman (Paul) Ryan (R-Wisc.) has to say about it since he sat on the Simpson-Bowles Commission, as did I believe other House Republicans, and they all voted no.

“So it is important to remember — and I think a lot of people when they talk about the commission that the president set up, that that commission called for significantly higher revenues than the president has called for and significantly deeper defense cuts than the president called for; and, actually, in the first 10 years, fewer savings from entitlement programs than the president has called for.”

Carney concluded by pointing out that “when you get into the details of it, you have to wonder whether or not support from Republicans would really be there. It certainly wasn’t there when the commission was taking its votes.”