WASHINGTON -- Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said he has not yet made up his mind about how to vote on a proposal to cut the deficit and rein in the national debt.
Crapo is one of 18 members of President Barack Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which will vote Friday on a proposal released Wednesday morning.
The 59-page document, titled "The Moment of Truth," urges a sweeping range of controversial proposals. They include deep cuts in most government spending to overhauling the tax code, reducing defense spending and trimming future Social Security benefits -- all to slash $4 trillion from projected budget deficits by 2020.
Crapo got high praise for his work from the Democratic co-chair of the commission, Erskine Bowles, a former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and now the president of the University of North Carolina. Bowles said that all he knows of Idaho is from a trip down the Snake River. But he added: "I know a leader when I see one, and you are one."
For his part, Crapo called it "an excellent work product" that addresses some of his chief concerns: cutting spending and reforming the nation's tax code. Two of his fellow senators on the commission have committed to voting for the plan: Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H. and Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D. Congress is obliged to review proposals that win support from 14 of the panel's 18 members.
As he weighs his decision, though, Crapo said that what he worries about is sending to Congress a plan that allows lawmakers to build on the reforms, not something they'll water down. That includes being disciplined about keeping tax rates in check and curtailing spending, he said.
"As I've thought about the areas where I have problems, it struck me as I was thinking about it, that in most of those areas, my concerns are with what is not in the plan as opposed to what's in the plan," Crapo said. "Are we putting into place a system that will at least get us heavily down the road in the right direction? Or are we putting in place a system that really doesn't get there? Those are the kind of questions I have."