Durbin Appointed to Bipartisan Commission to Balance the Federal Budget and Reduce the National Debt

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) was named to the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform today, becoming one of 18 members tasked with balancing the nation’s budget and reducing the long-term Federal debt.


The Commission, created by Executive Order earlier this month, will be co-chaired by former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Senate Whip Alan Simpson.


“Our national debt can threaten the economic security of our nation. Last year 68 percent of the new debt created by the United States was financed by foreign entities; China has now become our biggest creditor,” Durbin said. “This Commission is charged with making tough recommendations that will get us back on solid financial footing and ensure that we begin a new era of balanced budgets, responsible spending and fiscal sanity.”


The Commission will be made up of 10 Democrats and 8 Republicans and will work to identify specific policies to improve the country’s current fiscal standing and ensure long-term sustainability. Specifically, the Commission will propose recommendations to balance the federal budget by 2015, recommend specific policies to address the gap in projected spending and revenues, and to recommend changes to address the growth of entitlement spending on programs like Social Security and Medicare.


No later than December 1, 2010, the Commission will have to report its final recommendations to the President and Congress. In order for the report to be final, 14 of the Commission’s 18 members must approve its recommendations.


Of the 18 member panel, 12 members will be named by the Majority and Minority Leaders in the House and Senate. Four others, in addition to Mr. Bowles and Senator Simpson, will be named by the President.


Durbin was one of three Senate Democrats named by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to the Commission; Senators Kent Conrad (D-SD), Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and Max Baucus (D-MT), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee were also named.


Other members of the Commission are expected to be announced in the coming days.