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Crapo: Fiscal Commission Right to Focus on Tax Reform, Spending Freezes

But health care proposals, spending caps needed; final vote expected Friday

Washington, D.C. - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo had the last word as the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform wrapped up its series of meetings. Crapo was the last commissioner to give remarks in the closing session of the Commission, which released a federal deficit reduction plan this morning. The 18-member commission began meeting in April; its report is due today, December 1, and will be voted on later this week.

Crapo said the plan correctly focuses on spending reduction and tax reform, but does not address needed changes in newly-implemented health care reform and may leave loopholes that allow Congress to avoid necessary measures to implement the plan. The Commission's co-chairs, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, assembled the proposal. To be approved, it will need 14 votes out of the 18 members on the panel appointed by President Obama and leadership in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

"One of the key strengths in this proposal is that it does recognize that spending is the problem," Crapo said during a public hearing on the proposal today in Washington, D.C. "But we need a more robust effort to deal with spending. We need an enforceable spending cap. And, the reforms proposed for health care are too limited.

"Congress is going to have to put a lot of work into this proposal to turn it into legislative process and policy," Crapo added. "I will continue to carefully review these recommendations to determine whether this proposal can put into place the mechanisms Congress needs to reduce spending over the long term and avoid financial catastrophe for the nation."

Crapo said he has not yet determined how he will vote on the proposal and will examine each element of the report, although it must be voted on as a whole. A final vote on the Commission's report is planned for Friday.