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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fiscal Discipline in the State of the Union?

In "we'll believe it when we hear it" news, Bloomberg is reporting that there is a "fighting chance" President Obama will propose a freeze on discretionary spending in next week's State of the Union Address:
There is a “fighting chance” President Barack Obama will propose a freeze in most discretionary spending by the federal government in his State of the Union speech next week, Senator Evan Bayh, an Indiana Democrat, said

“The president can say in this State of the Union address, ‘I’m going to include in my budget a freeze on discretionary spending, I’m drawing a line in the sand, and I’m going to use my veto pen to enforce that,’” Bayh said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing this weekend.

Bayh, 54, said that while he wasn’t certain the president would make such a call, “I think that there’s a fighting chance that he will.”

The senator also said he expects Obama to use the Jan. 27 nationally televised address before Congress to embrace creation of a commission that would suggest spending cuts and tax increases that Congress would be forced to vote on. Bayh met this week with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag to discuss such a commission.

Bayh said he doubts Congress would approve establishment of such an independent panel, and that Obama would have to set it up by executive fiat.

Getting the 60 votes likely needed for Senate passage of a bill to create the commission “will be very hard,” said Bayh, a second-term Democrat who will face voters in this fall’s midterm elections. He said that as a result, he expects Obama to “then come forward with an executive commission which is not as good, but is at least there’s a step in the right direction.”

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