Not only Obama but also Scott Brown, the newly elected Massachusetts senator and Republican hero, had supported the commission idea, sponsored by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and his ranking Republican, New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg. But old-guard elements in both parties resisted, and it was ultimately doomed because top Republicans feared it would help Democrats extricate themselves from a difficult debt-ceiling bill.
“For it to win, the president will have to more,” Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, said. “I think he’ll have to produce a Democratic majority in favor of it, and if he does, I think there will be a significant number of Republican votes to go with it.”
“The president’s the agenda setter. The debt’s the issue. And if this is his proposal he needs to produce the votes to pass it.”
In fact, a majority of Democrats did back the measure including most of the party’s top leaders. But there was a fatal undercurrent of opposition from top chairmen of tax writing and appropriations committees, and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made little effort to temper this campaign led by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.).
Read more: Senate rejects deficit commission - David Rogers - POLITICO.com