The blueprint challenges Congress to push aside partisan differences and reduce military and domestic spending, to cut Medicare spending and pare down or eliminate popular tax breaks - such as the earned-income tax credit and the mortgage-interest deduction. It would put the country on a path toward reducing trillion-dollar deficits, reining in the $13.860 trillion national debt and putting Social Security on solid financial footing for the next 75 years.
Under the plan, the corporate tax rate drops to 26 percent from 35 percent, and individual tax rates and six individual tax rates of today are replaced with three tax brackets: 8 percent up to $70,000 of annual income; 14 percent up to $210,000 of annual income; and 23 percent for everyone else.
But it hasn’t been enough to sway the three House Republicans on the commission - Reps. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, Dave Camp of Michigan, and Jeb Hensarling of Texas. They signaled their intention to vote against it, saying they couldn’t accept the plan’s proposed tax increases and said the plan did not address the problem of rising health care costs and what they deemed to be the problems created by Mr. Obama’s new health care overhaul law.
“The reason I can’t vote for the thing is because not only did it not address the elephant in the room - health care - it made it fatter,” Mr. Ryan told reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. “If you are going to fix this fiscal crisis, you have to take on health care.”
The stances exposed a philosophical rift over how to rein in the country’s trillion-dollar deficits and national debt, with the three House Republicans and three Senate Republicans on the commission taking opposite sides. On Wednesday, retiring Sen. Judd Gregg, New Hampshire Republican, endorsed the plan.
Outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, both Democrats, had vowed to bring it up for a vote before the end of the lame-duck session if it got the required support.
But it is unclear whether lawmakers would have had enough time to consider the plan before the end of the year, and Rep. John A. Boehner, the Ohio Republican in line to be the next speaker of the House, has refused to say whether he would address the plan in the next Congress.
Mr. Obama established the commission in February and named Mr. Bowles and Mr. Simpson as co-chairmen. He tasked the panel with drawing up a plan to balance the budget, excluding interest, in 2015 and to put the country on a more sustainable fiscal path over the long run.
On Wednesday, the chairmen aired their final recommendations, calling for deep domestic, military and Medicare cuts in an attempt to cut $4 trillion from the debt by 2020 and bring some balance back to the economy.
As it stands, federal spending is nearly 24 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, the highest it has been since World War II, and federal taxes are 15 percent of GDP, the lowest since 1950.
Under the co-chairmen’s plan, federal spending would be shaved down to 21.6 percent of GDP and federal taxes would jump to 19.3 percent by 2015. By 2035, they would be each level out at 21 percent.