U.S. Rep Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) says she cannot support a revised plan to reduce the national deficit. The Bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform was asked to agree on a plan to shrink the national debt by Dec. 1, but the final vote has been postponed.
Elected officials on the panel, including Schakowsky, have been unable to agree on a proposal put forth by co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, who floated their plan in early November. Today is the first day commissioners will see a revised version; a final vote on that proposal is expected Friday. Fourteen of the 18 commissioners must agree on the proposal in order for it to move to Congress for a full vote.
Schakowsky told Eight Forty-Eight’s Alison Cuddy that she’s seen some of the proposed changes, and believes the plan to reduce the deficit “places an inordinate burden on the elderly and on middle-class people.” For one, the proposal will require people on Medicare to pay more out-of-pocket for health care.
Schakowsky has offered an alternative plan. One idea for reducing health care costs, she says, is to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices. She also believes that the U.S. should offer a “public option” for health care coverage, which she says will lower costs and give consumers more choice.
Schakowsky also proposed waiting until 2015 to address the national deficit. “First we have to invest in the economy to put people back to work,” she remarked. For example, she suggested that extending unemployment benefits will stimulate the economy and actually help reduce the deficit.
Music Button: The Lions, "Thin Man Skank", from the CD Jungle Struttin', (Ubiquity)