Gregg: Reconvene Simpson-Bowles Commission

With the fiscal cliff approaching and no solution yet emerging, former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) has an interesting idea: bring back the Fiscal Commission. In an op-ed in The Hill, he notes the struggle that lawmakers will have in agreeing to a constructive plan that deals with future deficits while not coming down too hard on the economy in the short term. On the cliff, he says:

These two events, if allowed to go forward as proposed, would bludgeon the economic recovery and almost assure a relapse of the economy into some level of contraction, possibly even a renewed recession.

While the debt reduction that would result from these spending cuts and tax increases is needed to reduce our disastrous debt course, the manner in which they will occur will be counterproductive and would actually aggravate, to a large degree, the long-term debt problem by slowing economic growth.

Because of the toxic partisan environment, he sees a new Commission as one of the few options available that could get both parties on board for the kind of plan we need.

The Simpson-Bowles commission should reconvene before the crush of the lame- duck session. It should start where it left off with the fiscal menu it put on the table to cut $4 trillion from the debt over 10 years.

It should, however, be ready to expand beyond its original proposal, incorporating ideas from the president and Ryan, and adjust and update the original proposal. It should prepare a template that will give this lame-duck session, on which political pressure will be intense, an opportunity to act outside the partisan boxes that will frustrate serious action.

Whatever the method used, lawmakers will need to find an avenue for a bipartisan path forward. The Fiscal Commission plan is an obvious place to start.