WASHINGTON (CN) – In an attempt to bring Republicans into his post-partisan governance tent, President Obama has established, by executive order, essentially the same fiscal commission rejected by the Senate in January. It will be composed of Republicans and Democrats charged with developing policies to improve the national fiscal situation in the medium term and to balance the budget, excluding interest payments on the national debt, by 2015.
The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform will have 18 members with six appointed by Obama, and six Democrats and six Republicans nominated by congressional leaders. The order establishing the commission requires that at least 14 members agree on the measures it proposes to the President and Congress.
Obama selected former Senate whip Alan Simpson of Wyoming and former Clinton White House Chief-of-Staff Erskine Bowles to co-chair the group.
The commission may already have succeeded in creating some bipartisanship, as members of each party have expressed concern that the commission usurps congressional authority and that the proposals of the commission are preordained to include tax hikes opposed by Republicans on the one hand and spending cuts opposed by Democrats on the other.