Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) is certainly a guy who knows his way around Capitol Hill. But sometimes he seems to get a little lost, and just hopes nobody notices.
Obama’s fiscal commission, on which Conrad served, concluded last year that the retirement age for Social Security eligibility must be raised to 68 and then to 69. Conrad backed the final report, as did Durbin and conservative Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).Yeah, here's the thing about that. There is no commission proposal, and it didn't "conclude" anything.
Conrad is negotiating with Durbin, Coburn and Crapo about bringing the commission proposal to the Senate floor as legislation.
Joan McCarter has already explained this quite clearly:
The president's bipartisan fiscal commission, more commonly known among the non-austerity crowd as the catfood commission, failed. The recommendations it made were not official. It failed to garner the required 14 of 18 supporting votes, and thus did not have an official vote.This is -- or ought to be -- as plain as day. And yet, the Beltway press won't let go.
Which it couldn't have had anyway, not officially, because it didn't meet its deadline. There is absolutely no reason for the administration to follow the recommendation of the commission. Because they failed and never produced any. That's the inconvenient fact which DC--politicians and media alike--continue to ignore.
I can understand why the members of the commission who need what looks like official cover for their plans to cling to it. But there's no reason for the "objective" press to say there was a commission report when there wasn't one.
Conrad, you may remember, was a stickler for the rules when the issue was reconciliation and the health care bill. Which is, of course, as it should be. And it's equally obvious that Senator Conrad is entitled to put forth his failed proposals as a bill, just as he would be with an idea that actually had popular support.
But I think it's fair to say that he would never countenance someone saying that a certain bill was a reconciliation bill even though it wasn't. He'd absolutely object to that, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that reconciliation bills are entitled by statute to a certain procedural deference on the Senate floor. While that's not necessarily the case for whatever it is he's hoping to salvage from the failed commission, it's certainly true that he's seeking to attach to it an importance it does not have, does not deserve, and failed to earn under the procedure he agreed to.
Senator Conrad can certainly draw inspiration from any source he likes, and can submit any proposed legislation he wants to. But he shouldn't be able to pretend his proposals are something they're not. And The Village has no business helping him do so. They're ideas that he -- a retiring Senator -- personally likes, and nothing more.
There is no commission report. There was no "conclusion" reached.