Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Mike Crapo of Idaho have announced that they will vote in favor of the Simpson-Bowles Deficit Commission’s recommendations.
Meanwhile, Jim DeMint signaled possible approval of the commission this morning, saying, “As I look at this proposal, one of the parts that intrigues me the most is the reform of the tax code…. I think this would do more to reduce the debt and improve the economy and increase employment in the economy — a lot of things we would do if we would focus on this.”
DeMint is not a member of the fiscal commission, but his status as Tea Party favorite could lend credence to the commission’s recommendations for other congressional conservatives. For Coburn and DeMint, generally regarded as the two most conservative members of the Senate, to both support Simpson-Bowles is a remarkable development. The commission’s latest proposal is still regarded by Americans for Tax Reform as violating the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, and the plan calls for the federal government eventually to raise tax revenues to 21 percent of GDP.
Even with the approval of Coburn and Crapo, the commission is a long way from the 14 members of the 18-person commission required to send the recommendations to Congress for an up-or-down vote. But this development turns the spotlight to liberal members of the commission, as well as to President Obama.