Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Obama Tells Panel on Federal Debt to Consider All Options

From NY

As President Obama’s bipartisan commission on reducing the mounting federal debt headed to its first meeting on Tuesday, the president told its members that “everything has to be on the table” as they consider options for reducing spending and increasing tax revenue.

Mr. Obama, appearing in the Rose Garden at the White House, recounted some steps his administration has already taken to restrain the growth of annual deficits. But he said, “This alone will not make up for the years in which those in Washington refused to make hard choices and live within their means.”

“And it will not make up for the failure to level with the American people about the costs of the services that they value,” he added. “This is going to require people of both parties to come together and take a hard look at the growing gap between what the government spends and what the government raises in revenue. And it will require that we put politics aside, and that we think more about the next generation than the next election.”

The president was flanked by his choices to chair the commission: Alan K. Simpson, the former Republican senator from Wyoming, and Erskine Bowles, a Democrat and former White House chief of staff. With a grin, Mr. Obama saluted them for their courage in accepting the assignment — a nod to the low expectations that many in Washington have for the commission, given the polarization between the parties, especially in an election year.

Mr. Obama then left for Iowa for the next stop on his “Main Street Tour,” and the commission members walked across the street to an executive conference center for their three-hour inaugural meeting.

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