The Wall Street Journal does a cute trick when talking about the upcoming deficit commission report and whether or not it will be implemented by Congress:
The co-chairmen, Democrat Erskine Bowles and former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson, need 14 of the 18 members of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to support their proposal in order to issue a formal recommendation, which could then be voted on by Congress before the end of the year.
If the panel wins close to a dozen votes for its proposal, some of the ideas could be incorporated into the White House’s 2011 budget proposal, or tax and spending plans from either Democrats or Republicans next year. If the proposal receives only a handful of votes, it will likely send a signal that the parties remain at odds over how best to rework the country’s tax and spending priorities, suggesting that it will take much longer for any changes to be made.
A key threshold for the co-chairmen will be whether they can get the support of the 10 lawmakers on the panel who are returning in January as part of the new Congress.
The panel needs 14 votes to pass anything out to Congress. But the WSJ is suggesting that if they get 10-12 votes for a plan that it would be enough for the White House to take some or all of it and send it to Congress. Fourteen votes are needed to signify bipartisan support unto having a worthy proposal – not ten, not twelve. This is a clear example of moving the goal posts on what constitutes agreement on the Catfood Commission. Expect more goal post moving to come, especially as it becomes clear that the painful austerity measures, including cutting Social Security, supported by Bowles and Simpson are not supported by liberals on the commission.